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Circular metal pin owned by a female Hungarian Jewish slave laborer

Object | Accession Number: 2017.645.4

Metal pin with the name of the Hessisch Lichtenau factory acquired by Ilona Kellner (later Elena Kalina) while imprisoned in Hessisch Lichtenau forced labor camp in Germany, from August 2, 1944 to March 1945. She received the pin because she worked as a translator and messenger in the camp. During the 1930s, Ilona worked as a kindergarten teacher in Rožňava, and lived in Pelsöc, in what was Czechoslovakia until 1938, when it became part of Hungary (now Plešivec, Slovakia.) Her parents, Karoly and Jolan, and younger sister, Vera, also lived there. 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, 1944, the authorities forced Ilona, Vera, and their parents, Karoly and Jolan, from their home and moved them into a ghetto that had been set aside in another area of the town. In mid-June, the family, was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in German occupied Poland. Their parents were taken to the gas chambers in the camp’s killing center, Birkenau, and killed upon arrival. By August 2, Ilona and Vera had been deported to Hessisch Lichtenau, a sub-camp of Buchenwald concentration camp as part of a transport of 1,000 Hungarian women brought to Germany to fill a labor shortage. On September 19, Ilona and Vera were officially registered at the camp, and issued prisoner patches. The 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.

acquired:  1944 August 02-1945 March
acquired: Hessisch Lichtenau (Concentration camp); Hessisch Lichtenau (Germany)
Identifying Artifacts
Object Type
Lapel pins (aat)
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
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 21:51:01
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