Peach chemise with floral embroidery saved by a Hungarian Jewish refugee

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Washington, United States

Embroidered silk chemise 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.


  • Title: Peach chemise with floral embroidery 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: Custom made, hand sewn peach silk chemise, thigh length, with shoulder straps and a straight neckline with 3 flower appliques on openwork netting on the front and netted trim around the top. It has a short pleat foe ease of movement on the bottom front left side, front darts to shape the bodice, and a single right side seam. It may have been taken in on the upper right side.

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