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Medallion awarded to a Hungarian Jewish athlete

Object | Accession Number: 2018.286.3

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    Medallion awarded to a Hungarian Jewish athlete

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    Brief Narrative
    Medal with a man holding a laurel wreath, presented to Kálmán Gutlohn in Budapest, Hungary, before he was conscripted into a forced labor unit in 1941. Kálmán worked in the Foreign Currency Department at the Budapest City Savings Bank and was an active athlete, competing in many shooting and rowing competitions. In 1939, Kálmán married American-born Anna Farkas and they lived in Pest, Budapest. In 1940, Hungary joined the Axis Alliance and passed race laws similar to Germany’s Nuremberg laws. In 1941, Kálmán and the other Jewish men in the community were conscripted for forced labor to work in multiple areas in and near Budapest. Anna used her American citizenship to get Kálmán released and he returned home on November 9, 1944. Days later, he was arrested, escaped a forced march, and found protection at an American internment camp. He later escaped the German S.S. takeover of the camp and went into hiding in his family’s apartment. During the Siege of Budapest beginning on December 25, 1944, Kálmán hid in the destroyed apartment with help from his wife. Russian forces liberated Pest on January 18, 1945 and in February, Kálmán went to Bucharest to work in the Identification Department at the American Joint Distribution Committee. Anna, her two sons, and their daughter joined him in June. Anna and the children sailed to the United States at the end of November and after his paperwork was approved, Kálmán joined them in January 1947. He changed his name to Clarence Grant and found work as a banker for a Hungarian firm in New York.
    received:  before 1941
    received: Budapest (Hungary)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Mary Aviyah Farkas
    back, center, engraved : I
    front, bottom, embossed : BM
    Subject: Kálmán C. Gutlohn Grant
    Kálmán Clarence Gutlohn Grant (born Kálmán Gutlohn, 1910-1986) was born in Budapest, Hungary, to Zsigmond (1870-1937) and Janka Sonneschein (1877-1961) Gutlohn. Zsigmond served as a soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I, and owned a grocery store over which the family lived in an apartment. Kálmán had two siblings, Sándor (1909-1942) and Rózsa (1914-1979). Kálmán attended a traditional Jewish elementary school followed by a Jewish gymnasium, where he graduated in 1926. Following his schooling, Kálmán attended the Academy of Commerce for training in banking practices. Afterwards, he secured a job at the Budapest City Savings Bank, where he worked as a clerk in the Foreign Currency Department for 11 years. He was also an active athlete and competed in many shooting and rowing competitions. He spoke fluent English, German, and Hungarian.

    In 1939, Kálmán married American-born, Catholic, Anna Farkas (1912-1983), becoming stepfather to her sons, Gaston (b. 1932) and Rudolph (b. 1933). Anna’s parents had immigrated to the United States from Hungary around 1907, but moved back to Hungary when Anna was 9 years old. Anna had nine siblings, and at 17, she left home and moved with her older sister to Budapest, where she became an English tutor for wealthy children. In September 1938, Anna began working for the Totis family, teaching their daughter, Zsuzsanna, English. After Anna married Kálmán in 1939, her two sons lived with her parents on their farm in Bucsa. Between 1938 and 1941, Hungary passed race laws similar to Germany’s Nuremberg laws, and joined the Axis alliance in 1940. In 1941 Kálmán was conscripted for forced labor in the 109/36 Company. The company commander was Istvan Kovacs, a well-known Budapest lawyer, who tried to maintain decent living conditions for the laborers, and the guards for the company were often permissive and lenient. Their first assignment took them away from Budapest, but the company commander was able to get them assigned to the Goldberger Textile Factories in Budapest with the help of Paul Totis (Anna’s employer), the city’s Jewish Community, and the Ministry of Defence. Kálmán was sent to the Obuda section, close to the couple’s home in Pest, which allowed him to visit his family on occasion. While Kálmán worked on the labor force, his brother Sándor was serving in the transportation corps of the Hungarian Army, was sent to the Soviet front, and was killed in 1942.

    Anna gave birth to their first daughter, Victoria (1944-2014), in January 1944, and later moved in with Kálmán’s mother and sister at their Pest apartment. In March, German forces occupied Hungary. In April, Hungarian authorities began ordering the Jewish population into ghettos with police-guarded perimeters. During this time, Kálmán was transferred to Diósgyőr, the Hungarian State Railway’s foundry, about 115 miles to the northeast. A regular train schedule allowed Anna to travel there in secret, sometimes bringing their daughter along. Under German occupation, the labor company’s guards were replaced and increased in numbers, and the Jewish men were assigned the toughest work. As an industrial plant, Diósgyőr came under severe bombardment by Allied planes. During the attacks, the guards were able to enter bomb shelters, but Kálmán and the other Jewish forced laborers were not allowed in and fled to nearby woods. Afterwards, they were responsible for clearing rubble and moving the bodies.

    In October, a new Hungarian government took control, dominated by the fascist Arrow Cross party. In an attempt to prevent deportation, Vice-Consul Carl Lutz at the Swiss Legation began issuing diplomatic protective letters to Jews, and Anna obtained one for her husband (as an American citizen, she had already been under the protection of the Swiss consulate). She was also granted permission to move her family into a protective internment camp under the Swiss, but Anna chose to remain at home awaiting Kálmán’s release. He returned home from forced labor on November 9, 1944 and two days later, the Arrow Cross and police arrested him and other Jewish residents and then collected them at the brickworks in Obuda. They were supposed to be sent on a forced march, but Kálmán and four other men were able to bribe a soldier to help them escape. He made his way to the "protective internment camp" maintained by American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, located in the Institute for Deaf Mutes on Festetich Street. However, he was unable to contact Anna at their home. Unaware that he had escaped, she followed the march over 20 miles before returning home to find a message from Kálmán. On November 18, a Jewish ghetto was established in Budapest and Kálmán’s mother, Janka, was forced to move there. Anna had given Kálmán’s sister, Roszi, her baptism certificate from the U.S., allowing Roszi to avoid the ghetto by posing as a Christian seamstress.

    On December 13, German S.S. surrounded the Festetich Street building, searched for Jews, and took them to the Danube River to be killed. Kálmán managed to escape and return home, where he successfully hid. On Christmas day, the Soviet army besieged the city and airplanes began bombing the houses around them, knocking out the windows in the couple’s apartment. They took shelter in the bathroom with the baby until January, when Anna and her daughter moved to the basement with the other building residents while Kálmán remained upstairs in hiding. They managed to survive a direct hit to the building, but Kálmán continued to hide alone without heat or running water, only able to eat what Anna managed to sneak up to him. He remained in hiding until Russian forces liberated Pest on January 18, 1945, though Buda was still under siege. Many in Pest died of starvation, but Anna’s American status enabled her to get daily rations for her family from the Unitarian Church on Kohary Street, which had set up a kitchen for American and British citizens. Kálmán retrieved his mother, Janka, from the Budapest ghetto, and brought her to live with him, his sister, his wife, and daughter.

    In February 1945, Kálmán left abruptly for Bucharest, Romania, and found work in the Identification Department at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Anna left Budapest and brought her daughter to join her two sons at her parent’s farm in Busca, and in June, they left to join Kálmán in Bucharest. As Americans, Anna and the children were able to sail to the United States at the end of November, settling in New York. Kálmán had to wait for his paperwork to be approved but was able to leave Bucharest in January 1947 and sailed to Paris. There he continued to work for the Joint until he was finally able to sail to the US in August 1947, his trip sponsored by American cousins, Clarence and Leo Sonnenschein. He reunited with his family and met his new daughter Alexandra (1946-2005), who was born in the US while he was awaiting passage. They later had a third daughter, Mary (b. 1948). Kálmán became manager of Deak & Company’s foreign exchange office. Anna and Kálmán separated, and he moved to Miami in 1958.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Circular, tarnished, brass-colored metal medallion. On the front, in relief, is a man standing in profile with his right arm outstretched, holding a wreath of laurel leaves. He is bare from the waist up with fabric draped around the lower half of his body and tossed over his right shoulder. His left hand is by his side, holding a scroll. Behind him is an engraved low brick wall with foliage and mountains in the background. On the back are two laurel branches with looped stems that curve upwards to form a wreath shape. The ends of the branches are crossed at the bottom and tied with a ribbon. Engraved inside the wreath is a singular Roman numeral. A suspension loop and suspension ring protrude from the top of the medal.
    overall: | Diameter: 1.375 inches (3.493 cm)
    overall : metal

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The medal was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2018 by Mary Aviyah Farkas, the daughter of Kálmán Clarence and Anna Farkas Gutlohn Grant.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-29 13:06:27
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