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Numbered prisoner patch worn by a female Hungarian Jewish slave laborer

Object | Accession Number: 2017.645.2

Prisoner patch marked "20409" issued to and worn by Ilona Kellner (later Elena Kalina) while imprisoned in Hessich Lictenau forced labor camp in Germany, from September 19, 1944 to April 25, 1945. During the 1930s, Ilona worked as a teacher or governess and lived in Pelsöc, Hungary (now Plešivec, Slovakia), with her parents, Karoly and Jolan, and younger sister, Vera. In 1938, Hungary’s fascist regime adopted anti-Semitic measures based upon the Nuremberg racial laws in Germany. In November 1940, Hungary joined the Axis Alliance. In March 1944, Germany invaded Hungary and began deporting all Hungarian Jews to concentration camps. On May 8, Ilona and Vera were arrested, and in June, they were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland. Their parents, Karoly and Jolan, were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center, where they died later that year. By August 2, Ilona and Vera were in Buchenwald, where they had been deported as part of a transport of Hungarian women brought to Germany to fill a labor shortage. On September 19, Ilona and Vera were transported to Hessisch Lichtenau and issued prisoner patches. Hessich Lictenau was a sub-camp of Buchenwald concentration camp, where 1,000 Jewish Hungarian women worked in an explosive munitions factory run by Fabrik Hessisch Lichtenau GmbH. In late March 1945, the camp was evacuated and the women were taken to Leipzig by train. From there, they were sent on a forced march to Wurzen, where they were liberated by US forces on April 25.

1944 September 19-1945 April 25  (use)
1944 September 19  (issue)
issue : Hessisch Lichtenau (Concentration camp); Hessisch Lichtenau (Germany)
use : Hessisch Lichtenau (Concentration camp); Hessisch Lichtenau (Germany)
Identifying Artifacts
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Eva Moreimi, in loving memory of her parents: Ilona Kellner Kalinova and Ernest Kaufmann Kalina
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Record last modified: 2018-09-25 14:57:15
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