Tomi was the only child of his parents Margit and Alfred. He was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1936. In 1939, after the introduction of anti-Jewish laws, Alfred was forced to sell his scrap metal business.
In 1943, when Tomi was seven years old, his father was called up to a forced labour unit of the Hungarian Army. Tomi and his mother were forced into a Yellow Star House because they were Jewish. He had very little contact with his father and after just one brief visit Alfred was taken away, never to be seen again.
Tomi managed to survive the war by moving around and hiding in an apartment with his mother. After witnessing a lynching in the Budapest streets, targeted at Communists and Jews, Tomi was determined to leave Hungary. He eventually managed to get to Austria, where he was reunited with his beloved granny.
Tomi wished to further his studies and obtained a UK entry permit, enabling him to apply for a scholarship to study engineering in Scotland. He went on to have a successful career in engineering.
He eventually settled in Greater Manchester with his wife and two children.
“From a very early age, my father started to encourage me to get involved in all things mechanical. I vaguely remember going to his scrap metal yard, where the recoverable items included electric wires, which were clad in some kind of material for insulation. This had to be removed to obtain the pure copper, which was valuable. He taught me how to hit the wire repeatedly with a hammer, until the cover would split, and the copper could be removed. A great achievement for a five-year-old!”
“My mother never did find out what happened to my father. There was no certainty. I have a copy of an International Red Cross search document where my mother had entered his details. The form was circulated in the camps and amongst survivors to try and find news of him, dead or alive, but there was never any feedback about him.”
“If I have one regret in my life, it is that there is so much I did not appreciate until my later years. Acknowledging my mother for how much she had done for me through all the difficulties, did not happen in her lifetime.”