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Pető prepares a film of the Jewish Labor Company 252/2 in Hungary in fall 1940

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 2019.432 | RG Number: RG-60.7061 | Film ID: 4438

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    Pető prepares a film of the Jewish Labor Company 252/2 in Hungary in fall 1940


    Agfa 8 logo. Hungarian titles throughout. Short prologue film: “Kedves Barátom” (Dear friend,). Text of a letter that Győrgy wrote, ends with his signature. INT doorway, dimly lit, as Győrgy enters through the doorway. CU table, he puts down several items: a box with “E.K. Co. Rochester, NY” (E.K. for Eastman Kodak), two boxes with lightbulbs in them, a box that says “Eumig Klebepresse” on it (Eumig is an Austrian electronics manufacturer, Klebepresse is a splicer), and a camera case. He opens the box with the splicer. He cranks a home movie camera as he leans in to look through it. [Negative images] Street, with a person on a bike riding down the sidewalk]. Győrgy , who moves the camera a little from left to right, while still looking through it. [Another negative shot] Horse-drawn buggy on the streets. Győrgy turns the camera to his right. He sits in front of a film editor. He opens a film canister to reveal an 8mm film reel, which he threads through the machine. After attaching an empty reel to the other end of the editing device, he takes a drag from a cigarette, and puts the cigarette in an ashtray, as he continues to thread the film. MS Győrgy , stand next to a film projector. A series of cuts showing him putting the film reel on the projector, and setting up an empty reel on the other end of the projector. The lights go out around him as he adjusts with the focus on the projector.

    The main film of the Jewish Labor Company 252/2 begins as letters gradually spell out the word “Emléklap Átosok” over two shovels and a circle made of barbed wire. “Egy pár derűs pillanat a Kiszombori zsidó munkásszázad életéből” “Fotografálta: Pető Győrgy ” “A feliratokat rajzolta” “A felvételek 1940 Szept. utolsó és Okt. első Napjaiban Készültek.” (Recorded last days of September and first days of October 1940). “Személyek” (in typefont) listing officers, sergeants, and crew -- the names of individuals in the Jewish labor company 252/2 at Kiszombor. There were over 200 members of the company. “A század Tanyája: Grand Hotel ‘Selmeczi’” with drawing of a hotel bellhop. 03:15 Sign on a brick wall: “M.KIR.252/ Táborizsidó -Munás Század- Század Szállás”. EXT of Selmeczy’s mill, a steam powered mill on the outskirts of Kiszombor. 03:25 MS three men in military uniform standing in front of the mill, talking with each other. “Hajnali Sorakozó” 15 workers lined up on a cobblestone street standing before a military officer. “Kivonulas” Around 200 men, each one holding a shovel, walking away from the building, as their superior officers look on. A different angle, this time showing the long line of workers in the Jewish labor company marching down a dirt road, each one wearing a (white?) armband. Another shot of the column of men, this time from a different angle, allowing us to see the mill in the background. 03:52 Photographer Bela Liebmann standing directly behind the man smiling and waving at the camera. Several more shots of the workers marching, in smaller groups. 04:36 Title with a drawing of a shovel: “A munkahelyen”. A group of men are digging a long ditch, which is already mostly full of water (they are digging an irrigation ditch from the Mures river). On the left side of the ditch is a row of houses, and on the other side are some trees. A series of shots from different angles show the men working on the irrigation ditch, as overseers look on. 05:13 MCU of a balding man in a white shirt named Endre “Bandi” Kardos, a good friend of Pető . Two men pretend to whip him into action. The men continue to work on the ditch. CUs, older officer. Another officer climbs into a buggy with driver and horse; and a second soldier joins him before they depart. “Felvételezők munkában” Three workers haul a small wheelbarrow (they are smiling). “Utban makó felé” Men and bicycles in a buggy move along a dirt road. Two workers collect bread in a basket. The parked buggy. “A 100-ad fürdőszobája.” A man “bathes” outdoors from a communal spigot; another man fills a canteen with water. “Mellékhelyiség egyéb.” Outdoor latrine in a corn field. “Vége az I. résznek” Film ends 07:39
    Event:  September-October 1940
    Szeged, Hungary
    Kiszombor, Hungary
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Dr. Katalin Pető
    Camera Operator: György Pető
    Subject: Bela Liebmann
    György Pető (Dec 20, 1906-1971) was a talented violin player, photographer, and class lottery businessman in the southern Hungarian city of Szeged. He began making 8mm films in 1938. Pető was first in a Jewish forced labor company in Kiszombor in 1940. After returning home, Pető married Eva Lengyel (d. 1970) on September 8, 1941. They had a son, András, on October 3, 1943. Pető was again transported to the Ukraine with another forced labor batallion, where he was captured, and imprisoned in a Soviet POW camp near Zaporozje. He escaped somehow and returned to Szeged. The Jews from Szeged, including Eva, baby András, and many Lengyel family members, were deported during the summer of 1944. They were transported to Strasshof and later to Neunkirchen (Austria) where baby András and Eva's mother and father died. Pető’s mother Zseni was killed at Auschwitz. His brother László died. Eva returned to Szeged in 1945; Pető followed one month later. In 1946, Eva and György had a second child, Katalin Pető. When all of Pető’s property was confiscated by the communist regime in Hungary in 1949, he escaped with his family to the city of Budapest where he established himself as viola player in the Budapest Operetta Theater.
    Bela Liebmann (1899-199?), Hungarian Jewish photographer and businessman. Liebmann was born in Temesvar, Hungary (now Timisoara, Romania). In 1915 he became an apprentice in a business that sold surgical, optical and photographic equipment. During World War I he served in the Austro-Hungarian army in Italy at which time he received the Iron Cross for saving 120 German soldiers in Piave. In 1919, Liebmann moved to Budapest, where he began a career as a free lance photo journalist. He contributed to six different newspapers and traveled frequently to Szeged and other Hungarian cities. In 1923 he moved to Szeged where, in addition to contributing to the local papers, he worked as the manager of a surgical, optical and photographic equipment store. Four years later, in 1927, Liebmann opened his own optical and photographic supply store on Keleman Street in downtown Szeged. His business prospered and brought him considerable wealth, which he invested, in part, in an apartment house in the city. In addition to running his store, he also did photography in local theaters. In 1932 Liebmann married his first wife, Szerena (Szenka) Hortobagyi (b. 1912), and two years later their daughter Flora (Florika) was born. During World War II Liebmann was conscripted into the Hungarian labor service. His wife and daughter were deported, and in April 1945 were killed along with 38 other victims, in the village of Weissenbach by retreating SS soldiers. After the war Liebmann returned to Szeged, where he continued to photograph and eventually became Vice President of the Hungarian Association of Photographers. He also remarried during this period. In 1951 his business and apartment house were nationalized by the communist regime.

    Physical Details

    B&W / Color
    Black & White
    Image Quality

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    You do not require further permission from the Museum to access this archival media.
    Dr. Katalin Pető
    Conditions on Use
    The Museum does not own the copyright for this material and does not have authority to authorize third party use. For permission, please contact the rights holder, Dr. Katalin Pető.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Film Provenance
    Dr. Katalin Pető authorized the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to make high-resolution digital scans of the original 8mm films in February 2019. The transfers were completed at the Austrian Filmmuseum in Vienna. Dr. Pető donated digital copies of the 33 films to the Museum's Spielberg Fillm Archive in October 2019.
    The mill building still exists today, at Kiszombor, Óbébai u. 61, 6775 Hungary.

    Title card at the beginning of the film lists the inmates of the labor camp.

    Bela Liebmann was a famous Hungarian photographer ( His wife and young daughter died in KZ. He took photos in the same labor camp as Pető – in Kiszombor. Here is the story: Here are the photos, maybe parallel with Pető’s film -

    The film speed is too fast.
    Copied From
    8mm Agfa at 24fps
    Film Source
    Dr. Katalin Pető
    File Number
    Source Archive Number: Reel 2
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:55:56
    This page:

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