Personal papers of Dr A B Belton, formerly Bela Berend, Rabbi of the Budapest Ghetto, 1944. The papers document, in part, his activities in Hungary during the war; his trial by the Hungarian authorities for war crimes; his involvement with post war libel cases relating to his role as leader of the Jewish Council in Budapest, 1944; his relationship with prominent figures in the United States; his views about Israel and politics in the Middle East.
Berend, Bela (b 1911): Trial judgement and other papers (part microfilm)
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Dr Bela Berend was born in Budapest, 12 January 1911, the son of Adolf Presser and Regina Màriàs. As a young Rabbi he was regarded as a non-conformist, anti-assimilationist, Zionist who, later with the threat of deportations, advocated emigration as the way to save the Hungarian Jewish population.
His role on the Hungarian Jewish Council brought him into contact with elements of the extreme, anti-Semitic Hungarian Right, in particular Zoltàn Boznyàk, who, paradoxically, shared the same desire to remove Hungary's Jewish population. This association resulted in his becoming one of the most controversial figures in the Hungarian Holocaust.
In 1946 he was tried for war crimes by the newly installed communist government, where he faced accusations of collusion with the Gestapo, stealing Jewish property and collaborating with the extreme right. After appeals he was finally exonerated and settled in the United States, where he changed his name to Albert B Belton. However, despite the court's final ruling he faced numerous accusations and libels over the course of the next few decades.
He was also a witness in war crimes trials and referred to in the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, 1961. He was an ardent Zionist and defender of the state of Israel.
Trial judgement (hardcopy); remaining material on microfilm in no particular order.
A B Belton
Other Finding Aids
Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue www.wienerlibrary.co.uk.
Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements
Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.
Conditions Governing Use
Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.
Location of Originals
Wiener Collection, Tel Aviv University, Israel.