The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, August 25, 2019


Buried treasure poses Holocaust puzzle for Hungary museum
An archaeologist, Hungarian Ferenc Redo examines a metal coin of a Holocaust victim's collection in the Balatoni Museum in the town of Keszthely, 200 km west of Budapest on May 22, 2019. A collection of thousands of antique coins found buried in a house that was part of a war-time ghetto in Hungary for Jews has posed a riddle for historians. ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP.

by Peter Murphy


KESZTHELY (AFP).- A vast and "unique" trove of antique and Roman-era coins, unearthed in what was one of Hungary's wartime Jewish ghettos, is proving a conundrum for historians.

Thrilled with the chance discovery of the 2,800 gold and silver coins spanning decades and continents, researchers are in the dark however about who collected and then hid them.

That the coins were buried under a house whose one-time owner, the likely collector, is presumed to have been murdered in the Holocaust deepens the mystery.

According to a Hungarian Jewish organisation, the hoard also exposes how gaps remain in what is known about Hungary's Jews during World War II.

The current owners of the house in the town of Keszthely, 190 kilometres (120 miles) southwest of the capital Budapest, stumbled across the coins in February during work on the cellar.

They were likely hidden by a Jewish owner who was later deported to a Nazi German death camp in 1944, said Balint Havasi, director of Keszthely's Balatoni Museum where the items are currently exhibited.

"It's a priceless collection that can also help us learn about the Holocaust," Havasi told AFP.

'Sealed and buried'
In a letter to the museum, the building's current owners explained how they had been digging a hole in the cellar after pumping out groundwater when they came across the hoard.

"We slowly dug out five carefully sealed and buried glass jars," reads the letter seen by AFP.

"When we opened one of them, we were greeted by an amazing sight, just like in a fairy tale: hundreds of coins, real treasure," it continued.

"We hope that it can return to its legal owners one day."

The finders have requested anonymity, according to the museum, which also declined to reveal the exact location of the house.

Although the coins have not been valued, Havasi said that the collection was "unique... in terms of geographic spread, time period -- from antiquity to 20th century -- and the large volume".

'Tragically, not continued'
Almost half of the coins are from Pannonia, which was a province of the Roman Empire that covers modern-day western Hungary, according to Ferenc Redo, an archaeologist and coin expert.

The others are mostly antique coins from around the world, including pre- and post-revolutionary France, 19th century German territories, and both Tsarist- and Soviet-era Russia.

Many are from even farther afield, including South America, Africa, Asia and British-ruled India.

"It's sad that someone put together such a worldwide collection but tragically could not continue," Redo told AFP.

Engraved clues?
As well as the owner's identity, how the collection was amassed is unknown.

Engravings on jewellery also found in the jars suggest that the items may have belonged to the Pollak family, who were well-known Jewish traders in Keszthely before World War II.

Almost all of the town's once flourishing Jewish population died in the Holocaust, and no descendants of the possible owners have yet been traced.

In May 1944, the town's Jews were forced into a ghetto, of which the house where the coins were found was a part, said Gabor Rejto, head of the EMIH Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation in Keszthely.

Two months later, they were transported from Hungary to the Auschwitz death camp, he added.

A total of 829 Jews -- around 15 percent of the town's population at the time -- were deported from Keszthely.

Only 64 of them survived.

Today, the community has around a dozen members, Rejto said.

'Unanswered questions'
"The discovery shows how there are still many unanswered questions about the Holocaust in Hungary," he told AFP.

An estimated 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust, most in Auschwitz.

Many victims were never identified or remains found.

The museum plans to digitalise the collection and enlist archivists and historians to scour the Pollak family tree in search of descendants.

If no owner can be found, the collection will revert to ownership by the state.

"We also hope the exhibition will spread the word about the coins, and that a legal owner will turn up," Havasi said.


© Agence France-Presse





Today's News

July 22, 2019

Buried treasure poses Holocaust puzzle for Hungary museum

The National Maritime Museum opens the major exhibition The Moon

Tate acquires art archive of Ithell Colquhoun, transferred by the National Trust

Sotheby's Space Exploration auction skyrockets to $5.5 million

Four seasons reunited: Mauritshuis acquires three paintings by Nicolaes Berchem

Exhibition allows visitors to travel back in time 600 million years

Hauser & Wirth exhibits works from the Ursula Hauser Collection

The Robin Rice Gallery opens its annual photography exhibit Summertime Salon

'Holy Grail' item of Scottish silver comes to market at August sale

Tate appoints Victoria Cheetham as Chief Operating Officer

Kayne Griffin Corcoran exhibits new paintings on paper and wood panels by Monique Mouton

Crystal Bridges announces the opening date for the Momentary and unveils 2020 exhibition lineup

"Cool Clay" acquisitions highlight experimental nature of ceramics

Galerie Ora-Ora opens Nina Pryde's solo exhibition 'Infinity'

Exhibition at Watts Gallery explores the life, art and travels of John Frederick Lewis

SHOP Taka Ishii opens a group exhibition of contemporary ceramics by 8 Japanese and American artists

Rochechouart Museum of Contemporary Art opens Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann show

Three marvellous Morgans for sale with H&H Classics

Bank of England notes its 325 years with trip back in time

Brazil's new performing arts chief in anti-left 'crusade'

The Chimney presents a group exhibition in the historic William Ulmer Brewery

Lois Lambert Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Edel Bordón

Roberson Museum and Science Center opens biennial exhibition of scientific, natural and cultural history

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Newly restored Titian's Rape of Europa set to be reunited with accompanying works

2.- Krannert Art Museum acquires complete works of conceptual gay photographer Hal Fischer

3.- The Met's Rock & Roll exhibition reaches a milestone 500,000 visitors

4.- A new species of giant penguin has been identified from fossils

5.- Fondation Phi pour l'art contemporain exhibits works by pioneering artist Yoko Ono

6.- Comprehensive exhibition of Elfie Semotan's work on view at C/O Berlin

7.- 'Easy Rider' star Peter Fonda dead at 79

8.- Major exhibition explores the romantic fascination with the Scottish Highlands

9.- Meet the Ercolines, the Woodstock lovebirds whose hug made history

10.- Dallas Museum of Art re-opens European Galleries after total reinstallation



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful