Chim: David Seymour's Humanist Photography
National Gallery of Art, home page
Image: David Seymour (Chim), Elections at Children's Town, Hajduhadhaza, Hungary, 1948, gelatin silver print David Seymour (Chim)
Elections at Children's Town, Hajduhadhaza, Hungary, 1948
gelatin silver print
National Gallery of Art, Gift of Ben Shneiderman
© David Seymour Estate/Magnum Photos

Children of Europe

Elections at Children's Town, Hajduhadhaza, Hungary

Several European municipalities established children's communities to care for parentless youth after the war. The children's villages, sometimes located in abandoned barracks, aimed to provide more extensive education and training than standard orphanages. One distinguishing characteristic of the villages was "self-government," which was intended to impart a sense of responsibility and community.

Chim took this photograph of a boy using a friend's back for support as he fills out a secret electoral ballot at the children's town in Hajduhadhaza, Hungary. Here, children older than age ten elected a mayor, police captain, postman, and members of a "children's court" that settled disputes. Chim's intimate image is full of hope: despite years of tragic hardship, the children are seen to be eager, cooperative participants in a model civil society.