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Large brown suitcase used by Hungarian Jewish refugees on the Kasztner train

Object | Accession Number: 2003.198.1

Large suitcase carried by Dr. Bela Gondos when he was transported from Budapest, Hungary, to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on the Kasztner train in June 1944 with his wife Anna and 7 year old daughter Judit. They were advised to bring all their belongings. Each carried a suitcase filled with their best clothing since they believed they were going to Portugal. They used it as a bed, table, and chair on the cattle car to the camp. Jews were increasingly persecuted by the Hungarian regime, which had anti-Semitic policies similar to Germany's. Bela worked on 2 or 3 forced labor battalions until released in 1942 because he was a physician. On March 19, 1944, Germany invaded Hungary and the authorities prepared to deport all the Jews from Hungary to concentration camps. In mid-May, Bela heard about the Kasztner train, negotiated by Rezso Kasztner of the Relief and Rescue Committee of the Hungarian Zionist Association to get the German SS to take money to release Jews to neutral territory. Bela and his family were selected because of Bela’s Zionist ties. Kasztner failed to raise sufficient funds and the train was sent to Bergen-Belsen, arriving at the camp on July 8. After ransom money was raised by Jewish aid organizations, the prisoners were sent from Bergen-Belsen to Switzerland on December 7, 1944. Bela, Anna, and Judit emigrated to the United States in 1946.

use:  1944 June-1952
received: Budapest (Hungary)
use: Bergen-Belsen (Concentration camp); Belsen (Bergen, Celle, Germany)
use: United States
Object Type
Suitcases (aat)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Judith Gondos Jacobs
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:16:46
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