• Deb Bowen

Remembering Eva Apathy

Updated: Jul 17

Sadly, one of my book subjects named Eva Apathy passed away on June 1, 2020. I found out when her daughter contacted me saying she was listing Understanding Works as a place people could donate in remembrance of her mom. I received lovely letters from their family's friends.

I believe Eva was one of the kindest women I have ever met in my life. Thankfully, I was there the day the teenage girls showed her the "proof" copy of her book so she could make sure it was accurate. It was complete inasmuch as the text and drawings were there along with photos of her life in the back and matching curriculum at the end. The title of their book is "My Guardian Angel". Eva was very thankful, that was evident. The loving looks she showered on the teenage girls who wrote and illustrated her story as she read it held me spellbound. She stopped and looked at them each time she turned a page, she was soaking it all in and although she didn't say a word, true affection and appreciation was shining in her eyes.

The girls and I had learned that Eva was born and raised in Hungary and married before WWII began. She and her husband Sandor went to Germany where he could attend a well respected medical school. The war broke out and they were trapped in a city now controlled by Nazi soldiers. She talked openly about her fear of them. One day, she and her husband were on a train and an Allied bomber plane flew overhead. They had to jump off the train to safety. She was frightened, of course, and became panicked when she thought they left their papers on the train. Eva screamed and her husband calmed her saying softly "I have them in my pocket, we are safe."

The papers that had her so worried proved they were not Jewish and without them, Eva knew they could be sent to a concentration camp. This part of her story proved to the author and illustrator that the stories they have heard about the Holocaust were true. It was a small part of her story but it made a big impact on the two 8th grade girls. I believe Mia Freyermuth and Ella Douglas, who graduated in 2020 (Covid style), will have Eva's story in their hearts for the rest of their lives. I hope one day I receive a picture of each of them reading her storybook to their own children.

Along with many other book titles in the A BOOK by ME series, Eva's book has been put into every school building in Scott County (Iowa) thanks to a generous grant to the Jewish Federation of the QC from Scott County Regional Authority.

You'll find Eva's story and dozens of other books written and illustrated by kids for kids available at our bookstore at the top of the homepage at

#wwii #holocaust #historypreservation #teenauthor #Hungary #DavenportIA #quadcities


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"I'm passing along the lessons from the Greatest Generation and others who have lived through hardship to future generations. Our subject's humility, sense of responsibility, and work ethic are inspiring. Having a student interview someone with a powerful story to tell is the greatest gift I can give them and those who will one day read their book." Deb Bowen