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Peter Somogyi

Pecs, Hungary

Peter and his twin brother, Thomas, were the youngest of three children born to an observant Jewish family. They lived in Pecs, an industrial center where goods such as bricks and ceramics were produced. Peter's father owned a prosperous business selling accessories and parts for cars, motorcycles and bicycles. He was also a regional sales representative for Ford automobiles.

1933-39: A German nanny took care of Thomas, my older sister and me. She taught us German and we became quite fluent. When my brother and I turned 5, we began piano lessons at home. The next year we joined a boy scout troop. On September 1, 1939, Thomas and I began school. That day we heard on the radio that Germany had invaded Poland. Five years later, we were deported to Auschwitz with my mother and sister.

1940-44: Male twins and some dwarfs lived in our half of the barracks. Right outside was a crematorium, where bodies, stacked like logs, waited to be burned. An older twin was assigned to watch over us; he taught us math and geography. Sometimes the guards took all the twins to a soccer field to kick around a rag ball. Then there were all our visits to the infamous Dr. Mengele. Thomas and I were examined together. He measured our heads and compared our eyes. An assistant took blood. Dr. Mengele liked us because we spoke German.

Peter and his brother were liberated from Auschwitz by the Soviet army on January 27, 1945. They returned to Pecs before emigrating to Israel in mid-1949.

 

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