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Omega wristwatch worn by a Hungarian Jewish man on the Kasztner train

Object | Accession Number: 2003.198.7

Omega steel wristwatch worn by Dr. Bela Gondos when he was deported from Budapest, Hungary to Bergen-Belsen on the Kasztner train with his wife Anna and 7 year old daughter Judit in June 1944. He purchased the watch in 1940 or 1941 and it was not confiscated by the Germans because it was made of steel, not gold. Jews were increasingly persecuted by the Nazi-influenced Hungarian regime. 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, 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 on July 8. After ransom money was raised by Jewish aid organizations, the prisoners were sent to Switzerland on December 7, 1944. Bela, Anna, and Judit emigrated to the United States in 1946.

Date
approximately 1940-1941  (received)
approximately 1940-approximately 1965  (use)
Geography
use : Budapest (Hungary)
use : Bergen-Belsen (Concentration camp); Belsen (Bergen, Celle, Germany)
Language
English
Category
Timepieces
Object Type
Wrist watches (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Judith Gondos Jacobs
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Record last modified: 2018-01-11 14:22:33
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn513777