Black Bakelite circular eyeglasses worn by a Hungarian Jewish man on the Kasztner train

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Washington, United States

Black Bakelite spectacles worn by Dr. Bela Gondos when he was deported from Budapest, Hungary to Bergen-Belsen on the Kasztner train with his wife Anna and 7 year old daughter Judit in June 1944. Jews were increasingly persecuted by the Nazi-influenced Hungarian regime. Bela worked on 2 or 3 forced labor battalions until released in 1942 because he was a physician. On March 19, 1944, Germany invaded Hungary and the authorities prepared to deport all the Jews from Hungary to concentration camps. In mid-May, Bela heard about the Kasztner train, negotiated by Rezso Kasztner of the Relief and Rescue Committee, Hungarian Zionist Association, to get the German SS to take money to release Jews to neutral territory. Bela and his family were selected because of Bela’s Zionist ties. Kasztner failed to raise sufficient funds and the train was sent to Bergen-Belsen, arriving on July 8. After ransom money was raised by Jewish aid organizations, the prisoners were sent to Switzerland on December 7, 1944. Bela, Anna, and Judit emigrated to the United States in 1946.


  • Title: Black Bakelite circular eyeglasses worn by a Hungarian Jewish man on the Kasztner train
  • Provenance: The eyeglasses were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2011 by Dr. Bela Gondos and Dr. Judith Gondos Jacobs.
  • Subject Keywords: Child concentration camp inmates--Germany--Celle--Biography. Concentration camp inmates--Germany--Celle--Biography. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Germany--Celle--Personal narratives. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Hungary--Budapest--Personal narratives. Jewish families--Hungary--Budapest--Biography. Jewish physicians--Hungary--Budapest--Biography. World War, 1939-1945--Jews--Rescue--Hungary--Budapest--Personal narratives.
  • Type: Personal Equipment and Supplies
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Eyeglasses with black Bakelite circular frames connected by a curved bridge with 2 clear glass convex lenses. The right temple attaches to the frame with a silver colored metal hinge. The left temple is broken and missing below the hinge.

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