Kolumbusz utca Camp

Established on the spur of the moment when Kastner had to preempt any Eichmann excuses and prove to him that a group brought in from Kolozsvár could be accommodated.  The so-called Kolombusz Street Camp was erected overnight by Laci Devecseri with the purpose of furnishing temporary space for designated passengers waiting to board the Musterzug to Switzerland and future trains that will follow. The chosen site was the garden section of the Wechslemann Institute for the Deaf, Mute and Blind in a leafy, quiet neighborhood of Budapest. The entire camp became a part of the Reichsgeheimnis, based on the deal between the Germans and the Jews from which the Hungarians had to be kept away.

Eichmann furnished a contingent of SS guards, assigned to guard the little camp against intruders. The Hungarians were strictly forbidden to come near it let alone enter the camp. The Jews were free to come and go. The picture of SS guards protecting Jews added a strong dose of incredulity to the scene and endless frustrations to the Hungarian Gendarmerie, police and Arrow-Cross as well as high officers, key officials and  government ministers who came along and were not only  prevented from entering but were ordered to leave the area.

The camp was maintained after the Musterzug’s departure on 30 June, 1944 and served as a hiding place for escapees from the Hungarian labor battalions.

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