84-year old Holocaust survivor shares his story

13 January 2020

Ashton Sixth Form College's History students were honoured to welcome Tomi Komoly who spoke about his personal experiences as a Holocaust survivor. His visit was part of the Holocaust Educational Trust's aim to educate the young people of today. 

Tomi was born in Hungary in 1936. In 1938, the "First Jewish Law" was passed that started a series of anti-Jewish measures in Hungary, restricting the rights of Jewish people including their abilities to work and vote. World War II officially began in 1939 lasting around six years until 1945, altering people's lives forever. Tomi's home country changed dramatically after it fell under influence from Nazi Germany, and as a result his family made the difficult decision to leave. He was one of around 200,000 people who reportedly fled Hungary to escape persecution during this period. 

After fleeing Hungary, Tomi's family became refugees in Austria. During his visit, he recalled fondly about how well he and other Hungarians were treated as refugees, relying solely on the kindness of others to survive. He received a scholarship to continue his education and was able to complete his university studies. He continued to study further and completed an Engineering course in Edinburgh. It was after this that he embarked on a successful forty year long career in the chemical industry in Britain. 

Throughout his life, Tomi began to understand the greater effect Nazi Germany's influence had on his early childhood and his own upbringing. He was not allowed to receive any formal religious education as a child and despite being Jewish his whole life, when raising his own children he had to re-establish what that actually meant for his family. 

History students heard Tomi's incredible story of survival firsthand. As part of their course, they explore the Holocaust and its affect throughout their coursework module. His visit allowed them to gain a greater understanding of the impact of the war and the importance of remembering the stories of those who survived the Holocaust. 

Find out more about studying History at Ashton here

Tags: careers history guest speaker humanities