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Small leather suitcase used by a Hungarian Jewish family while living in hiding

Object | Accession Number: 2003.442.2 a- b

Small leather case used by Malvina Kornhauser from November 1944 until January 1945 while she was staying in a Swedish protected building and then in the Budapest ghetto in German occupied Hungary. The suitcase was purchased by her son-in-law Istvan Pick during the 1930s for use in his job as a traveling sales engineer for grape presses for the Rokk Istvan Machine factory. Before November, Malvina lived with her daughter Margit Pick, her husband Istvan, and son Gyorgy. Hungary was an ally of Nazi Germany and adopted similar anti-Jewish laws in the 1930s. Istvan, an engineer, lost his job in May 1939 because he was Jewish. He was conscripted into Hungarian labor battalions in 1940, 1943, and 1944. After German setbacks in the war against the Soviet Union in early 1943, Hungary sought a separate peace. In March 1944, Germany invaded Hungary. The next month, Hungarian authorities began round-ups of Hungarian Jews for deportation to concentration camps. That June, Gyorgy, his mother, and Malvina were forced to move to a designated Jews only yellow star building. Malvina's sister Gizella already lived in a designated building and they moved in with her. In November, Istvan escaped his labor battalion and went into hiding in Budapest at a textile factory on Csango Street where nearly 200 other Jews were also hiding. On November 22, he sent for Margit and Gyorgy. They packed a small suitcase and left without telling Malvina. The building was raided the next day, and Malvina, Gizella, and the other residents were taken to transit camps in the brickyards along the river. The building superintendent knew that the women had a brother, Bela, living in one of the safe houses in the international ghetto protected by the efforts of the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. Bela was able to get protective cards for Malvina and the others and they moved into the safe house. In December, the Jewish owner of the factory where Gyorgy and his family were hiding was betrayed to the Gestapo. The factory was raided December 2, but the police accepted bribes to not make arrests. On December 17, the Pick family went to the central ghetto to avoid capture. Budapest was under heavy bombardment and there was no electricity, gas, or water. Food was scarce because of the Soviet blockade. The Picks lived in the crowded basement with nearly 200 others. On January 18, 1945, Pest, where they lived was liberated by the Soviet Army; Buda was liberated on February 13. The family returned to their own apartment. They were reunited with Malvina, who returned from the international ghetto. Over 160 members of Gyorgy's extended family perished in the Holocaust.

use:  1944 November-1945 February
received:  approximately 1930
use: in hiding; Budapest (Hungary)
Object Type
Suitcases (aat)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of George Pick
Record last modified: 2020-06-30 09:19:38
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