Collage entitled: Mementos from the Russian campaign," which includes a watercolor of Stalin with the caption: 'Russia a meeting place for foreigners 1942-43' (top); a commuter train ticket issued to military personnel who carried the special SAS [Hurry, Immediate, Urgent] draft notice (middle, right); a pseudo travel brochure cover entitled 'Spend your summer vacation in merry Russia' (bottom, left); and the original design for the cover of the labor company's hournal entitled 'Hungarian Roayal 109/13 Labor Company Travel Journal' (bottom, right). [Photograph #57943].
Courtesy of the estate of George Byfield; US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Beifeld did not have long to recuperate after his return to Budapest before the situation of Hungarian Jews took a dramatic turn for the worse. In March 1944, Germany occupied Hungary, and within weeks, the ghettoization and deportation of the Jewish community commenced. While a precise chronology of what happened to Beifeld in 1944 is not available, it is known that he was deported to a concentration camp (probably in the fall of that year) and was ultimately liberated in Dachau.
Beifeld most likely assembled this album of original drawings and narrative text in the period between his return to Budapest in 1945 and his emigration to Australia either in 1948 or 1956. All but a few of the 400 images, which are carefully labeled as based on sketches drawn in situ, appear to have been created at the time of his labor service in the Soviet Union, and the text is based on notes he made at the time. Some of the drawings were made on the backs of military postcards that were mailed to friends and retrieved afterwards.
Following his move to Australia, Beifeld changed his name to George Byfield and opened a tobacconist shop. Later he established a studio of interior design, which became quite successful. Beifeld died in Australia in 1982 at the age of 80. It was another nineteen years before the various beneficiaries of his will came together to find a final home for the album at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Examine pages from the album by clicking on See artifacts and using the zoom tool to select and magnify areas of the image.