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Green knapsack used by a Hungarian Jewish man in forced labor

Object | Accession Number: 2002.176.1

Large, two pocket rucksack used by Elek Brust while a forced laborer from 1941 and 1943-1944 in Hungary. He then used it while living in hiding with his family during the German occupation through February 1945. Elek was a manufacturer and prominent member of the Jewish community in Budapest where he lived with his wife Lilly and young daughter Eva. In 1941, Jewish males were required to do forced labor service and Elek was sent to a labor camp. Lilly obtained his release a few months later with black market papers. In 1943, Elek was again drafted, and not released until March 1944. On March 18, the family watched from the windows during Eva's 10th birthday party as German troops marched into Budapest. With Hungarian support, the Germans began to prepare for the deportation of all Jews from Hungary. Elek was involved with negotiations between the wealthy Jewish community and Adolf Eichmann to reduce the numbers of deportees with monetary payments, but his talks were not successful. In August, Elek, Lilly, and Eva obtained Swedish protective passes, initialed by Raoul Wallenberg. But in December 1944, they decided it was safer to go into hiding. The city was under bombardment and siege by the Soviets, so they went to the countryside. They were in Erd when Budapest was liberated on February 13, 1945. Most of Lilly's extended family perished. As Soviet control of postwar Hungary increased, they decided to leave. They sailed from England on May 27, 1947, and settled in New York, where Lilly's parents had relocated in 1939.

use:  approximately 1941-1945
use: forced labor / in hiding; Hungary
Object Type
Backpacks (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Eva Brust Cooper
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 08:53:34
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