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Pick family photograph collection

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 1999.282.13

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    Pick family photograph collection

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    The Pick family photograph collection consists of photographs of the Pick family of Budapest, Hungary, and the Kornhauser family, and their friends before and immediately following World War II. The images include both victims and survivors of the Holocaust. The photographs also include images of George Pick with his preschool class, first and second grade class photographs taken at the Jewish Boys’ Orphanage School in Budapest, a group photograph taken at the wedding of Dr. Jozsef Szalai, two pictures of a Hungarian Jewish labor battalion constructing a road in Cluj (now Cluj-Napoca, Romania) and a group photograph of a postwar reunion of Hungarian Jewish survivors in Budapest, 1946.
    inclusive:  circa 1912-1946
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of George Pick
    Collection Creator
    George Pick
    György (George Pick) was born March 28, 1934 in Budapest, Hungary. He was the only child of middle class Jewish parents. György’s father, Istvan, was an engineer responsible for producing hydraulic grape presses for wineries. His mother, Margit Pick (née Kornhauser), worked as a legal secretary. The Pick family could trace its history in the Austro-Hungarian Empire back 230 years, and György had many close relatives in the city.

    In the 1930s, Hungary’s authoritarian government pushed the country into close alignment with Nazi Germany. Hitler’s speeches were broadcast on the radio, and even though György could not understand German, he was disturbed by the anger he heard in the dictator’s voice. Hungary’s anti-Jewish laws were passed between 1938 and 1941. Modeled after Germany’s Nuremberg Laws they defined Jews in racial terms, excluded Jews from various professions, and severely restricted their participation in economic life. As a result, György parents lost their jobs.

    In 1940, Hungary officially allied itself with the Axis powers. György’s father was conscripted into a labor battalion and sent to the newly annexed territory of Ruthenia, where he was forced to build roads for the military. He was released after three months, but was reconscripted in 1943 and again in 1944. György attended school until March 1944, when German troops occupied Hungary.

    In mid-May 1944, the Hungarian authorities, in coordination with the German Security Police, began to systematically deport the Hungarian Jews. In less than two months, nearly 440,000 Jews were deported from Hungary. Most were deported to Auschwitz, but thousands were also sent to the border with Austria to be deployed at digging fortification trenches. By the end of July 1944, the only Jewish community left in Hungary was that of Budapest, the capital.

    In June, the Picks, along with other Jews in the capital, had to move into special buildings marked with yellow stars, and all of their belongings were confiscated. That October, the Hungarian fascists, known as the Arrow Cross Party, took power, and began to depart the remaining Jews to various concentration camps. György’s father was able to save the family from deportation by hiding them in a vacant building disguised as a uniform factory. A month later, they, along with the 160 to 170 Jews hiding there were discovered. György was placed in a Red Cross orphanage with 500 other children, but he soon escaped and returned to his family. He later learned that the children who had remained in the orphanage were killed. Two weeks after this incident, the Picks were sent to the Ghetto in Budapest. György and his family remained there during the final siege of the city which lasted from December through January.

    In January 1945, the Ghetto was liberated by Soviet troops. Approximately 130 of György’s relatives had been killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. After the war, György remained in Hungary, where he earned a degree in engineering. In 1956, he came to the United States as a refugee. He earned his Ph.D. in 1965, and then worked for the United States Navy as an aerospace engineer until his retirement in 1995. He and his wife, Leticia Flores Pick, live in Arlington, Virginia.

    Physical Details

    1 folder
    System of Arrangement
    The Pick family photograph collection is arranged in a single series.

    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

    Geographic Name
    Budapest (Hungary) Hungary.

    Administrative Notes

    George Pick donated the Pick family photograph collection to the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1999 and 2003. These were assigned the accession numbers 1999.282.1 and 2003.442.1. These have been unified under the catalog number 1999.282.13.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Primary Number
    Record last modified:
    2023-03-30 15:14:15
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