Hammerschlag and Stein families: personal papers

Scope and Content

This collection contains the family papers of Istvan and Eva Stein, Hungarian Jews from Budapest who emigrated to Cairo in 1938 whilst some members of their family stayed behind and perished in the Holocaust. Included are Eva Stein's memoirs (1753/1/1); qualifications and marriage certificate of Istvan and Eva Stein; as well as correspondence from both sides of the family and friends. Particularly the letters from Ernö Hammerschlag (Eva's father) (1753/7) describe the situation for Jews in Hungary during World War II detailing the occupation of Budapest and the bombings, his struggle to earn a living with anti-Jewish legislation in place, antisemitism amongst the population, his life in the Jewish ghetto from 1944 and the constant threat of deportation.

Also included are two newspapers from Budapest dated 1944 (translations of some antisemitic contents) and a copy of Múlt és Jövő, 1914 (Hungarian Zionist magazine) (1753/16-17.

Administrative / Biographical History

Eva Stein (née Hammerschlag, born 1912) and her brother Alfred ('Fred', born 1918) grew up in Budapest. Their parents, Ernö ('Ernst') Hammerschlag, a businessman, and Maria Schick from Eger, Sudetenland (later Cheb, Czech Republic) got married in 1910. Soon after the wedding her family from Eger followed her to Budapest. Ernö and Maria divorced in 1926.

In 1929 Eva travelled to Nancy, France, to attend a shorthand course. In November 1929 she managed to get a position at the foreign correspondence department of a bank in Budapest where she met her future husband, Istvan ('Steven', 'Stefan', 'Etienne', 'Pista') Stein (born 1904). They got married in 1933. Istvan came from a family of lawyers. He had two siblings, Annus and Pali. Istvan soon moved on to working for a pharmaceutical company which involved travelling to customers abroad including Egypt where he set up a new agency for his company. Whenever Istvan returned to Budapest he felt very restricted by anti-Jewish legislation. He decided to ask for transfer to the company's offices in Cairo. Eva followed him in November 1938 and soon found work at a tannery factory. Istvan lost his job a year later. It was not easy for the couple to earn a living in Cairo.

Eva's brother Fred emigrated to France in September 1938 to go to university as he would not have been able to do so in Budapest for being Jewish. He stayed there throughout the war. Eva's parents stayed behind in Hungary. Her mother died in 1944 after illness. Her father was sent to the Jewish ghetto in Budapest in 1944 where he died in 1945. Istvan's father passed away in 1935. His mother perished at Auschwitz concentration camp.

Eva and Istvan had two daughters: Kitty (born 1942) and Jeanette (born 1945). The couple moved to New York after the Second World War. Kitty married Gabriel Geza Balint-Kurti (see WL1725).


Chronological and by subject

Access Information

See Wiener Library access conditions at: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/usinglibrary/usingthelibrary.aspx

Acquisition Information

Donated by Kitty Balint-Kurti



Related Material

See also Photo Archive 2007/23 and WL1725 Agnes Balint: personal papers