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Oral history interview with Tom Keleman

Oral History | Accession Number: 2006.70.83 | RG Number: RG-50.583.0083

Tom Keleman, born September 7, 1929 in Budapest, Hungary, discusses his family background; being brought up as a German speaker; how anti-Jewish initiatives negatively affected his father’s career; his father being conscripted into the army as a Hungarian to lead a labor battalion, and then eventually being called up months later as a Jew; the start of the German occupation of Hungary on March 19, 1944; various family members working with the Jewish council before and during the German occupation; travelling to the Gestapo headquarters as a courier for the Jewish council; hearing hostages in the headquarters’ cellars; being aware of the deportations beginning in April 1944; carrying verbal messages to Jews in hiding throughout the city; a close call with his identification papers being checked by a policeman; the plans being formulated for Jews with foreign protection papers to be able to leave the city and be saved in early July 1944; hearing about August 28-29 as the date for the deportation of the remaining Budapest Jews; various deals being considered about the Jews; the takeover by the Arrow Cross in mid-October 1944; safe houses being set up; men between the ages of 16 and 60 being taken for "labor service", including his father; his whole family getting Swiss protection papers; how women were taken away during early November; working for the Red Cross; hearing that his house was going to be raided and upon his mother’s request, moving into a Red Cross safe house; trying to save his mother and aunt since they were under protection of the Red Cross, but being unable to find them; moving around to various safe houses; the Arrow Cross raiding their house in December 1944; the siege of Budapest; his family returning to their home; getting a job with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; illegally crossing into Austria; and immigrating to Australia.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Keleman, Tom
interview:  1993 January 08
1 sound cassette.
Credit Line
Forms part of the Claims Conference International Holocaust Documentation Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This archive consists of documentation whose reproduction and/or acquisition was made possible with funding from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 20:11:17
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