Small suitcase used by a Hungarian Jewish family while living in hiding

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Small brown suitcase used by ten year old Gyorgy Pick and his parents Margit and Istvan to carry family photos and food while they were living in hiding in Budapest, Hungary, from November 1944 - January 1945. Hungary was an ally of Nazi Germany and adopted similar anti-Jewish laws in the 1930s. Istvan, an engineer, lost his job in May 1939 because he was Jewish. He was conscripted into Hungarian labor battalions in 1940, 1943, and 1944. After German setbacks in the war against the Soviet Union in early 1943, Hungary sought a separate peace. In March 1944, Germany invaded Hungary. The next month, Hungarian authorities began round-ups of Hungarian Jews for deportation to concentration camps. That June, Gyorgy, his mother, and maternal grandmother Malvina were forced to move to a designated Jews only yellow star building. In November, Istvan escaped his battalion and went into hiding in Budapest at a textile factory on Csango Street where nearly 200 other Jews were also hiding. On November 22, he sent for Margit and Gyorgy. In December, Imre Kormos, the Jewish owner of this factory and three others where Jews were hiding, was betrayed to the Gestapo. The factory was raided December 2, but the police accepted bribes to not make arrests. On December 17, the Pick family went to the central ghetto to avoid capture. Budapest was under heavy bombardment and there was no electricity, gas, or water. Food was scarce because of the Soviet blockade. The Picks lived in the crowded basement with nearly 200 others. On January 18, 1945, Pest, where they lived was liberated by the Soviet Army; Buda was liberated on February 13. The family returned to their own apartment; Gyorgy carried the suitcase because his parents felt too weak to do so. They were reunited with Malvina, who had hidden in the international ghetto. Over 160 members of Gyorgy's extended family perished in the Holocaust.

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  • Title: Small suitcase used by a Hungarian Jewish family while living in hiding
  • Provenance: The suitcase was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1999 by George Pick.
  • Subject Keywords: Forced labor--Hungary--Biography. Hidden children (Holocaust)--Hungary--Budapest--Biography. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Hungary--Budapest--Personal narratives, Jewish. Jewish children in the Holocaust--Hungary--Budapest--Biography. Jews--Persecution--Hungary--Biography. World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor--Hungary--Personal narratives. World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, Hungarian.
  • Type: Containers
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Small rectangular brown leather covered fiberboard suitcase with two flap hinges. Brown leather trim, with white thread stitching, is riveted around the edges and the corners have triangular, leather reinforcements. The lid and base edges have wooden framed rims. A brown painted metal band is attached to the exterior lid frame. The bottom of the band is unpainted and bent over flat to create a narrow, decorative, silver colored band visible around the suitcase exterior when closed. A metal handle with red paint remnants is riveted to metal plates on the front of the base; a lock plate with a keyhole and hasp slot is riveted to the base center. The corresponding hasp is riveted to the front lid center. The interior is covered by light brown paper with light red stripes. There are handwritten letters on the lid interior. All hardware is silver colored metal. The suitcase is well used and scratched.


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