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Monogrammed pink silk pillow sham recovered by a Hungarian Jewish refugee postwar

Object | Accession Number: 2004.219.2

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    Monogrammed pink silk pillow sham recovered by a Hungarian Jewish refugee postwar

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Silk damask pillow sham recovered for Gabriella Weinberger by a relative, possibly Blanka Cobel, in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, after the war. It was made for her sister Marta’s dowry and embroidered with her initials. The family hid the sham in their home during the war. In May 1944, 15 year old Gabriella, her mother, Iren, and 18 year old Marta were deported from the Nyiregyhaza ghetto to Auschwitz. In August, they were sent to Struthof-Natzweiler, and later to Ravensbrück, where Iren died. In February 1945, the sisters were deported to Bergen-Belsen, where Marta, too weak to walk, was taken away upon arrival and presumably killed. The camp was liberated by British troops on April 15; Gabriella weighed 76 pounds. She was sent to Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp, then to Sweden to recover her health. In May 1946, she immigrated to the United States.
    Date
    recovered:  after 1945 May
    received:  after 1946 May
    Geography
    recovery: Nyiregyhaza (Hungary)
    received: United States
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Gabriella Neufeld
    Contributor
    Subject: Gabriella Neufeld
    Subject: Marta Weinberger
    Biography
    Gabriella Weinberger was born on January 10, 1929, in Budszentmihaly, Hungary, to Iren and Miksa Weinberger. Iren was born on December 12, 1898, in Nyirmada, to Amalia and Farkas Cobel Weinstock. Miksa was born to Lina and Moric Weinberger. Gabriella had an older brother, Ferenc, born on July 16, 1925, and a sister, Marta (Marika), born on December 7, 1926. Her father owned flour mills. The family lived in a house near the mills that had an attached home for her paternal grandparents.They were affluent, and had a live-in maid. The family was Orthodox Jewish, and Iren kept a kosher home. After Miksa’s death in 1935, Iren invited their cousin, Blanka Cobel, to move in with them. Gabriella attended an elementary school with Jewish and non-Jewish students, and later went to a gymnasium with her sister in Nyiregyhaza. Ferenc attended a Jewish gymnasium in Debrecen. In 1940/1941, their mills were confiscated. Iren decided to move her family, including Blanka, to Nyiregyhaza. Gabriella’s paternal grandmother had passed away while she was at school and her grandfather stayed behind in Budszentmihaly. Ferenc transferred to a Catholic gymnasium so he could live at home. In 1942/1943, the family was forced to house a German officer for a few months.
    On March 19, 1944, German forces occupied Hungary. In April, Gabriella, Iren, Ferenc, Marta, and Blanka were forced to move to a ghetto in Nyiregyhaza. They hid valuables in the basement and outhouse, and only brought some money and clothing. Blanka and Ferenc discussed getting false papers, but their uncle, who was on the Jewish council in the ghetto, talked them out of it because he would be questioned if they left. Blanka worked as a nurse and received permission to leave the ghetto. One day, she got into trouble and was sent to Harangod Puszta in northern Hungary to work on the farms. After a few weeks, Gabriella, Iren, Ferenc, and Marta were sent to Sima Puszta. In late May 1944, they were deported by cattle car to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Upon arrival, Ferenc was separated from the rest of the family by Dr. Josef Mengele. Gabriella, her mother, and her sister were taken to a bath area, where they were allowed to keep only their shoes. Their heads were shaved, and they were given disinfected clothes that had been taken from other prisoners. Gabriella, Iren, and Marta were sent to Block 17 in Lager C, which had only 30 barracks for 1,000 people. They slept with over 10 women to a bunk; their only food a piece of bread and soup once per day. One day, Gabriella, Iren, and Marta were taken to another bath area with 200 other women. Their clothes and shoes were taken away. They stood all day in the nude without food until they were finally given new clothes and shoes and sent back to the barracks.
    On August 27, they were transported to Natzweiler concentration camp in France. The camp, located in the forest, was overseen by Wehrmacht guards and housed 1700 women. They were forced to mix 50 pound bags of cement to build runways for airplanes. When it became colder, Iren washed the empty bags to use as an extra layer of clothing. In late November 1944, they were sent by cattle car to Ravensbrück concentration camp. At first, they were housed in a large building, where they slept on a hay covered floor. They received bread once a day. After a few weeks, they were moved to other facilities that had some heat and water. Iren soon became ill and was unable to eat what little food they had. Gabriella and her sister took her to the hospital, but were told that she was not sick enough to be admitted. Iren’s health continued to deteriorate, so they tried again and she was admitted. A few days later, a nurse came looking for the sisters and took them to the hospital to identify their mother’s body. Iren died on January 4, 1945. In late February, the sisters were deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Marta was too weak to walk from the cattle cars to the camp, so she was placed on a pickup truck. Gabriella asked to stay with her sister, but the Germans did not allow it. The camp barracks were infested with lice and sanitary conditions were poor. The Germans piled unburied corpses on the grounds. On April 12, the Germans deserted the camp. On April 15, the camp was liberated by British forces. Gabriella weighed around 76 pounds. The British soldiers gave them their rations.
    After a week or two, she was transferred to Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp, where she reunited with her childhood friend, Agi Cohen, from Budszentmihaly. Gabriella repeatedly searched for her brother’s name on lists of survivors. She eventually met some boys from her hometown who told her that they had seen her brother a few weeks earlier and he had been in poor condition. Gabriella found out that Ferenc died on March 26, 1945, in Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp. Marta presumably perished in February 1945 in Bergen-Belsen. Gabriella met a cousin who had moved to the United States and enlisted in the US Army. He gave her the names of two granduncles, Joseph and Morris Weinstock, living in Brooklyn. Gabriella and Agi learned that there were transports of sick refugees being sent to Sweden to recuperate. They pretended to be sick and spent two days in the hospital before being sent to Sweden in August. In early 1946, Gabriella obtained affidavits of support for the US from her maternal granduncles. She sailed from Gothenburg to New York aboard the SS Drottningholm, arriving on May 13, 1946.
    Gabriella later found out that her paternal grandfather, Moric Weinberger, was deported to Auschwitz, where he presumably perished. Her maternal grandmother, Amalia Weinstock, also was deported to Auschwitz, where it is presumed she perished. Her cousin, Blanka Cobel, survived the camps and returned to Hungary. One of Gabriella’s relatives, possibly Blanka, recovered some of the family’s belongings that were hidden in their home in Nyiregyhaza and sent them to her in the US. Gabriella married Norman Greenberg in September 1949, and later divorced. She married Luis Neufeld, who had survived labor camps in Hungary, in January 1958, and had two children.
    Marta (Marika) Weinberger was born on December 7, 1926, in Budszentmihaly, Hungary, to Iren and Miksa Weinberger. Iren was born on December 12, 1898, in Nyirmada, to Amalia and Farkas Cobel Weinstock. Miksa was born to Lina and Moric Weinberger. Marta had an older brother, Ferenc, born on July 16, 1925, and a younger sister, Gabriella, born on January 10, 1929. Her father owned flour mills. The family lived in a house near the mills that had an attached home for her paternal grandparents. They were affluent, and had a live-in maid. The family was Orthodox Jewish, and Iren kept a kosher home. After Miksa’s death in 1935, Iren invited their cousin, Blanka Cobel, to move in with them. Marta attended a gymnasium with her sister in Nyiregyhaza. Ferenc attended a Jewish gymnasium in Debrecen. In 1940/1941, their mills were confiscated. Iren decided to move her family, including Blanka, to Nyiregyhaza. Marta’s paternal grandmother had passed away while she was at school and her grandfather stayed behind in Budszentmihaly. Ferenc transferred to a Catholic gymnasium so he could live at home. In 1942/1943, the family was forced to house a German officer for a few months.

    On March 19, 1944, German forces occupied Hungary. In April, Marta, Gabriella, Iren, Ferenc, and Blanka were forced to move to a ghetto in Nyiregyhaza. They hid valuables in the basement and outhouse, and only brought some money and clothing. Blanka and Ferenc discussed getting false papers, but their uncle, who was on the Jewish council in the ghetto, talked them out of it because he would be questioned if they left. Blanka worked as a nurse and received permission to leave the ghetto. One day, she got into trouble and was sent to Harangod Puszta in northern Hungary to work on the farms. After a few weeks, Marta, Gabriella, Iren, and Ferenc were sent to Sima Puszta. In late May 1944, they were deported by cattle car to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Upon arrival, Ferenc was separated from the rest of the family by Dr. Josef Mengele. Marta, her mother, and her sister were taken to a bath area, where they were allowed to keep only their shoes. Their heads were shaved, and they were given disinfected clothes that had been taken from other prisoners. Marta, Gabriella, and Iren were sent to Block 17 in Lager C, which had only 30 barracks for 1,000 people. They slept with over 10 women to a bunk; their only food a piece of bread and soup once per day. One day, Marta, Gabriella, and Iren were taken to another bath area with 200 other women. Their clothes and shoes were taken away. They stood all day in the nude without food until they were finally given new clothes and shoes and sent back to the barracks.

    On August 27, they were transported to Natzweiler concentration camp in France. The camp, located in the forest, was overseen by Wehrmacht guards and housed 1700 women. They were forced to mix 50 pound bags of cement to build runways for airplanes. When it became colder, Iren washed the empty bags to use as an extra layer of clothing. In late November 1944, they were sent by cattle car to Ravensbrück concentration camp. At first, they were housed in a large building, where they slept on a hay covered floor. They received bread once a day. After a few weeks, they were moved to other facilities that had some heat and water. Iren soon became ill and was unable to eat what little food they had. Gabriella and her sister took her to the hospital, but were told that she was not sick enough to be admitted. Iren’s health continued to deteriorate, so they tried again and she was admitted. A few days later, a nurse came looking for the sisters and took them to the hospital to identify their mother’s body. Iren died on January 4, 1945. In late February, the sisters were deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Marta was ill and too weak to walk from the cattle cars to the camp, so she was placed on a pickup truck. Gabriella asked to stay with her sister, but the Germans did not allow it. Marta, age 17, presumably perished soon after this. On April 15, the camp was liberated by British forces. Gabriella, who weighed 76 pounds, was sent to Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp, then to Sweden to recuperate. She emigrated to the United States in May 1946.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Furnishings and Furniture
    Category
    Household linens
    Object Type
    Pillow shams (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Rectangular, circular patterned, pink silk damask pillow sham with a pink satin ribbon border and a monogram with line and dot accents embroidered on the lower right top. The upper panel is sewn to wide strips of cloth attached to a lower panel to form an enclosure for a pillow. On the back center is a horizontal button placket closure with 3 Dorset thread buttons and 3 corresponding button holes.


    .
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 19.375 inches (49.213 cm) | Width: 25.000 inches (63.5 cm)
    Materials
    overall : silk, ribbon, thread, metal
    Inscription
    front, lower right, embroidered, pink thread : WM

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The pillow sham was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Gabriella Weinberger Neufeld, the sister of Marta Weinberger.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-08-16 14:01:25
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn514937

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