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Prayer book

Object | Accession Number: 1999.282.11

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    Brief Narrative
    Prayer book, Mirjam, written for Jewish women by the Chief Rabbi of Budapest, used by Gizella Augenfeld Pick in the Budapest ghetto during the war. It was preserved by her grandson Gyorgy Pick and his parents Istvan and Margit during the war in Budapest, Hungary. Ten year old Gyorgy and his parents lived in hiding in Budapest, Hungary, from November 1944-January 1945. 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 maternal grandmother Malvina were forced to move to a designated Jews only yellow star building. In November, Istvan escaped his 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. In December, Imre Kormos, the Jewish owner of this factory and three others where Jews 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 had hidden in the international ghetto. Over 160 members of Gyorgy's extended family perished in the Holocaust.
    Mirjam : imádságok zsidó nők számára
    publication/distribution:  1909
    publication: Budapest (Hungary)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of George Pick
    Editor: Arnold Kiss
    Distributor: Schlesinger Jos. Konyvkereskedese
    Subject: George Pick
    György (George Pick) was born March 28, 1934 in Budapest, Hungary. He was the only child of middle class Jewish parents. György’s father, Istvan, was an engineer responsible for producing hydraulic grape presses for wineries. His mother, Margit Pick (née Kornhauser), worked as a legal secretary. The Pick family could trace its history in the Austro-Hungarian Empire back 230 years, and György had many close relatives in the city.

    In the 1930s, Hungary’s authoritarian government pushed the country into close alignment with Nazi Germany. Hitler’s speeches were broadcast on the radio, and even though György could not understand German, he was disturbed by the anger he heard in the dictator’s voice. Hungary’s anti-Jewish laws were passed between 1938 and 1941. Modeled after Germany’s Nuremberg Laws they defined Jews in racial terms, excluded Jews from various professions, and severely restricted their participation in economic life. As a result, György parents lost their jobs.

    In 1940, Hungary officially allied itself with the Axis powers. György’s father was conscripted into a labor battalion and sent to the newly annexed territory of Ruthenia, where he was forced to build roads for the military. He was released after three months, but was reconscripted in 1943 and again in 1944. György attended school until March 1944, when German troops occupied Hungary.

    In mid-May 1944, the Hungarian authorities, in coordination with the German Security Police, began to systematically deport the Hungarian Jews. In less than two months, nearly 440,000 Jews were deported from Hungary. Most were deported to Auschwitz, but thousands were also sent to the border with Austria to be deployed at digging fortification trenches. By the end of July 1944, the only Jewish community left in Hungary was that of Budapest, the capital.

    In June, the Picks, along with other Jews in the capital, had to move into special buildings marked with yellow stars, and all of their belongings were confiscated. That October, the Hungarian fascists, known as the Arrow Cross Party, took power, and began to depart the remaining Jews to various concentration camps. György’s father was able to save the family from deportation by hiding them in a vacant building disguised as a uniform factory. A month later, they, along with the 160 to 170 Jews hiding there were discovered. György was placed in a Red Cross orphanage with 500 other children, but he soon escaped and returned to his family. He later learned that the children who had remained in the orphanage were killed. Two weeks after this incident, the Picks were sent to the Ghetto in Budapest. György and his family remained there during the final siege of the city which lasted from December through January.

    In January 1945, the Ghetto was liberated by Soviet troops. Approximately 130 of György’s relatives had been killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. After the war, György remained in Hungary, where he earned a degree in engineering. In 1956, he came to the United States as a refugee. He earned his Ph.D. in 1965, and then worked for the United States Navy as an aerospace engineer until his retirement in 1995. He and his wife, Leticia Flores Pick, live in Arlington, Virginia.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Prayer books (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    329 p. ; 17 cm.
    overall : paper, ink
    inside, first page: inscription

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The book was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1999 by George Pick.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:11:41
    This page:

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