A Holocaust survivor, painter, and art therapist

Eva Netheim Mayro
Eva Netheim Mayro
Posted: October 14, 2012

Eva Netheim Mayro, 85, of Haverford, a Holocaust survivor who became a painter and art therapist, died Monday, Oct. 1, of a stroke at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood.

Mrs. Mayro spent her early childhood in Osnabrück, Germany. After Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, Jewish families like hers were persecuted.

She had vivid memories of Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass" in November 1938 when Jewish homes and businesses were attacked during violent pogroms, her daughter, Leslie, said.

Mrs. Mayro's father, Max Netheim, a lawyer, was imprisoned for a time, and the Nazis confiscated the beautiful family home, her daughter said.

To escape oppression, the Netheims fled to the Netherlands with other Jewish families, including the van Pels family. Peter van Pels and Mrs. Mayro attended Hebrew school together in Osnabrück.

Fearing the German invasion of the Netherlands, the Netheims eventually secured passage to New York and left Europe in December 1939.

The van Pels family stayed and, for two years, hid from the Nazis with the Frank family in a house in Amsterdam before being arrested by the SS.

Peter van Pels died in Mathausen Concentration Camp in 1945. He is immortalized in The Diary of Anne Frank, in which the young girl wrote about her fondness for Peter.

Mrs. Mayro remembered Peter van Pels as a quiet boy, her daughter said.

In the United States, Max Netheim became a chicken farmer in Gloucester County. His wife, who had been a schoolteacher, worked for a time as a cleaning woman.

After graduating from Pitman High School, Mrs. Mayro moved to Philadelphia and worked as a photographer's assistant.

She met Sidney Mayro, a professional violinist and businessman on a blind date. They married in 1949.

While raising a family in the Lynnewood Gardens section of Elkins Park, Mrs. Mayro studied at Temple University's Tyler School of Art and became an accomplished painter.

In the early 1970s, she earned a certificate in art therapy from Hahnemann University. For the next three decades, she worked with patients at Friends Hospital and other psychiatric facilities and at Saunders House, a senior residence in Wynnewood.

After retiring at 73, she volunteered at Einstein Medical Center Elkins Park.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Mayro is survived by sons Jerrold and Michael and four grandchildren. Her husband died in 2002.

A funeral was Sunday, Oct. 7, at the Chapel at Mount Sharon Cemetery in Springfield, Delaware County.

Donations may be made to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2126.

Contact Sally A. Downey

at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.

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