Budapest couple finds Holocaust documents in apartment

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During the renovation of their apartment, a Budapest couple found 6,300 files from a Nazi census dating back to 1944, according to a report by news agency AFP, published on Saturday.

The documents contained a census of Jews, made in preparation for deportation and mass execution. They were long thought to have been destroyed, but were kept virtually airtight between layers of plaster and brick until the wall cavity was opened up during a renovation project. Co-owner of the apartment, Brigitte Berdefy, said the documents were found when a workmen’s screwdriver was jammed into a crack in the wall. “We thought weʼd ruined the neighborʼs wallpaper,” Berdefy told AFP. But upon further inspection, Berdefy’s husband discovered what looked like handwriting, AFP reported.

Lack of oxygen and moisture helped preserve the documents, which are from a 1944 census carried out by the Nazis to collect details on the 200,000 Jews it planned to send to death camps, according to AFP.

Head of the Budapest City archives, István Kenyeres. was amazed by the discovery. “The content and scale of the finding is unprecedented,” he told AFP, adding that “it helps to fill a huge gap in the history of the Holocaust in Budapest.”

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