- The Pető family papers consist of biographical materials, correspondence, a personal narrative, photographs, property records, a newspaper, and a ticket documenting Judith Pető Leiber and her family, her early career in handbag design, her uncle’s experiences as a refugee in Nice, her family’s survival in Budapest, the confiscation or loss of her relatives’ property, and efforts to recuperate it.
Biographical materials include birth and marriage certificates; education and employments records; and identification papers documenting Judith Pető Leiber and her parents, sister, grandparents, and great grandparents. They also include permits and certificates documenting Emil Pető’s status during the German occupation of Hungary.
Correspondence primarily documents efforts by the Pető family and by Sandor Wolf to help Judith’s uncle Zsigmond Schönberger who had fled to Nice with his wife. Correspondence from Nice includes letters and postcards from Schönberger as well as from friends and contacts he had there. Some of the correspondence from Nice also documents Judith Pető Leiber’s early career in handbag design.
The personal narrative is a 1956 account by Emil Pető of his role on the Budapest Jewish Council, providing information to neutral countries about deportations, going into hiding in late 1944, and moving to Brazil in 1954.
Photographs depict Judith Pető Leiber, her sister, their parents, their grandparents, their great grandparents, their uncle Zsigmond Schönberger, his wife Lola, and the family’s Spitzer and Bogyansky relatives.
Property records document the confiscation, loss, and efforts to recover property belonging to the Pető, Schönberger, and Bogyansky families, including Emil Pető’s jewelry business and vineyard, the Bogyansky hat business, personal property, and financial assets.
The collection also includes a 1944 issue of A Magyar Zsidok Lapja issuing restrictions on Jewish activities in Budapest and a ticket for the coronation of Emperor Karl IV in 1916.
- Collection Creator
- Pető family
Judith Pető Leiber was born in Budapest to Emil and Helene Pető. When her education in chemistry was interrupted by World War II, she was admitted to the handbag guild in Hungary. She survived the war with her parents and sister, Eva, in Budapest using false papers. After the end of the war she met and married Gus (Gerson) Leiber, an American soldier, sailed with him to America in 1946, and became a famous handbag designer. Meanwhile, her father's brother Zsigmond Schönberger, who had been working in Vienna, fled to Nice with his wife, and they were interned at Drancy and deported to Auschwitz. Emil and Helene Pető moved to Israel after the war.