Holocaust survivor speaks about his experiences at Hereford Sixth Form College (From Hereford Times)
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Holocaust survivor speaks about his experiences at Hereford Sixth Form College
2:21pm Monday 10th February 2014 in News
John Dobai with Hereford Sixth Form students (l-r) Ella Rook, Rosie Leech, Alfie Rees-Glinos, Conor Tarring, Rachel Parks, Ceren Pugh and Scott Johnston and learning support teachers Jane Nicholas and Annette Kernahan
A MAN who survived the Holocaust said that he only appreciated the true magnitude of what he experienced when he spoke to fellow jews.
John Dobai spoke at Hereford Sixth Form College last Thursday to coincide with the college marking International Holocaust Remembrance.
The 80-year-old was born a year after Adolf Hitler came to power and grew up in Hungary - a country which had a large Jewish population.
Members of John's family were murdered just because they were Jews and he had to be christened as a Catholic.
Hungary entered the Second World War in 1941 and John's father, who was a prisoner of war in Siberia, was forced into a labour camp.
Severe anti-Jewish laws were applied, including the order for all Jews to wear the Star of David on their clothing, while John could not attend school. Deportations from Budapest started and John was sent to live with a peasant family, before being allowed to return to the capital.
Once again his family was moved, but John's father obtained "shutz passes" from the Swedish, organised by Raoul Wallenburg.
The Swedish diplomat is regarded as a hero in Hungary for rescuing thousands of Jews during the Second World World War, including many of John's family.
However, two of his aunt's and a cousin were murdered during the Holocaust, along with 550,000 other Jews in Hungary.
"The full horror of what happened to us only became clear when we were able to speak about it," said John.
"People were sent to the gas chambers, starved or beaten to death.
"I am here to remember members of my family who were murdered just because they were Jews.
"I call myself a humanist today, not because I am anti-religion, but because I cannot get to grips about what happened in the holocaust."
Scott Johnston, a student at Hereford Sixth Form College, said that the talk was very informative and moving.
"It was very interesting to hear from someone who was actually there and could put a personal perspective on it," said Scott.