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Becker family papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2018.359.2

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    Becker family papers

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    Biographical materials and photographs documenting the Holocaust-era experiences of the Becker family of Budapest, Hungary. Biographical materials include Ivan Becker’s Swedish protection document issued by Raoul Wallenberg and postwar documents from the Bad Gastein displaced persons camp; identification documents of his father Dezsö Becker, grandmother Frida Becker, and sister Anna Becker; his mother Kato Becker’s handwritten Hungarian cookbook; and a family history. Photographs include depictions of World War I, family photographs, and postwar photographs from Bad Gastein.

    Biographical materials include an affidavit from 1938 for Dezsö, Kato, and Ivan to immigrate to the United States; report cards of Anna Becker, Dezsö’s Hungarian passport and a message sent to him through the American Red Cross from his grandmother Frida Becker in the United States; birth, marriage, death, identification, and naturalization certificates for Frida and her husband Mátyás; Kato’s handwritten cookbook in Hungarian; Ivan’s Swedish protection document issued by Raoul Wallenberg, a document regarding Ivan’s forced labor, and post-war DP documents from Bad Gastein; bookplates, a CV, and modern copies of artwork by Kato’s brother Istvan Irsai; a family history in Hungarian authored by one of Ivan’s cousins; and a manuscript from 1922 written in Cherbourg that was possibly authored by one of Ivan’s sisters.

    Photographs include pre-war and wartime family photographs, depictions of World War I possibly taken by Dezsö, depictions of Ivan with childhood friend Chippy and his cousins Miriam and Robbi Irshai, Ivan’s class photographs, photograph albums of Ivan as a child, and a primarily postwar photograph album of Ivan in Bad Gastein and the United States.
    inclusive:  1909-1946
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Nancy Greenglass Becker
    Collection Creator
    Becker family
    Dezsö Becker (1896-1945) was born in 1896 in Bistra, Alba, Romania to Mátyás (1861-1935) and Frida Becker (1867-1952). He had five siblings: Leopold, Izsö, Anna (b. 1900), Ester, and Leslie. Anna and Ester immigrated to the United States in the 1920s. Frida joined her daughters there in 1937. Dezsö was a veteran of World War I and married Kato Irsai (Schwarz, 1899-1945?). Kato was born in Budapest, and had one brother, István (1896-1968). Dezsö worked as a bookkeeper and he and Kato lived in Budapest. They had one son, Ivan Endre Becker (nicknamed Van in the U.S., 1929-2009).

    In 1940 Dezsö was conscripted into a forced-labor brigade. He was later deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp where he perished. Dezsö’s brothers also perished during the Holocaust. Ivan attended school until the German occupation of Budapest in March 1944. In December 1944 Ivan and his mother were marched with other Jews to a brickyard in Budapest and then towards the Austrian border. Ivan was separated from Kato at the Hegyeshalom railroad station and never saw her again. He was rescued by Raoul Wallenberg or one of his associates, and sent back to Budapest Ghetto where he survived the duration of the war in a Swedish-protected safe house.

    After Budapest was liberated in January 1945, Ivan returned to his family’s apartment. He then travelled to Oradea, Romania searching for surviving relatives from his father’s family. Finding none, Ivan left Hungary with the Aliyah Bet and went to the Bad Gastein displaced persons camp in Austria. He immigrated to the United States in 1946 and settled in New York. He served with the United States Army during the Korean War. Ivan married Nancy Greenglass (b. 1941) in 1962 and had a successful career in the plastics business. Ivan and Nancy had two sons: David Michael (b. 1964) and Kenneth Andrew (b. 1967). After his retirement, he was involved in Holocaust education and served on the board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    Physical Details

    Hungarian English
    1 box
    2 oversize boxes
    2 oversize folders
    3 book enclosures
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as two series. Series 1. Biographical material, 1909-1946 and undated; Series 2. Photographs, 1915-1946 and undated

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The collection was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by Nancy Greenglass Becker in 2018. An accretion was also donated in 2018. The previous accessions 2018.359.1 and 2018.360.1 have been incorporated into this collection.
    Primary Number
    Record last modified:
    2023-05-26 09:12:34
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