Peach chemise with black and white floral appliques saved by a Hungarian Jewish refugee

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Silk chemise with embroidered floral appliques custom made for Anna Havas for her 1934 wedding to Bela Gondos. She took it with her when she was deported from Budapest, Hungary, to Bergen-Belsen on the Kasztner train with Bela and their 7 year old daughter Judit in June 1944. The family brought their best clothing since they believed they were going to Portugal. 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.

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  • Title: Peach chemise with black and white floral appliques saved by a Hungarian Jewish refugee
  • Provenance: The chemise was 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: Clothing and Dress
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Hand sewn, light orange, crepe silk chemise, hip length, with a sweetheart neckline, spaghetti straps, and a slightly flared skirt. The neckline and bottom hem are scalloped with white embroidered edges. It has a fitted bust panel and is slightly gathered near the shoulders. There are black netting floral appliques with white embroidery, 5 on the bust and 2 on the skirt. The cloth has tears and stains.