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Wiener Library

Berend, Bela (b 1911): Trial judgement and other papers (part microfilm)


Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 598b

Held at: Wiener Library

Title: Berend, Bela (b 1911): Trial judgement and other papers (part microfilm)

Date(s): c 1940-1977

Level of description: Collection level

Extent: 1 file; 269 frames

Name of creator(s): Belton | Albert B | b 1911 | Hungarian Zionist x Berend | Bela


Administrative/Biographical history:

Dr Bela Berend was born in Budapest, 12 January 1911, the son of Adolf Presser and Regina Máriás. 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 Zoltán Boznyák, 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.


Scope and content/abstract:

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.


Language/scripts of material: Hungarian, English

System of arrangement:

Trial judgement (hardcopy); remaining material on microfilm in no particular order.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Physical characteristics:

Mostly microfilm

Finding aids:

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

A B Belton


Existence and location of originals:

Wiener Collection, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: November 2007

Holocaust | Genocide | War crimes | Humanitarian law
Jews | Religious groups
Zionism | Political doctrines

Personal names
Belton | Albert B | b 1911 | Hungarian Zionist x Berend | Bela
Braham | Randolph | b 1922 | historian
Eichmann | Karl Adolf | 1906-1962 | Nazi

Corporate names
Budapest Ghetto

Hungary | Eastern Europe