Holocaust survivor visits Lucan school

by Padraig Conlon

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Renowned author and Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental visited Lucan Community College to launch his new book for children called “Tomi.”

The book is for school children 10 years and older and aims to give young readers an understanding of life during the Holocaust.

This special reading and book signing was attended by all first year students of the college, Leaving Certificate history and politics students as well as 6th class students from one of Lucan’s primary schools Scoil Aine.

Tomi Reichental was born on a small farm in Piestany in Slovakia in 1935.

At the time the Slovak government was a puppet administration of the German Nazi party and actively supported Nazi policies.

As young children, Tomi and his brother, Miki, had to wear a yellow star of David on their clothing.

Going to school they suffered bullying, taunts, assaults and humiliation from their peers, simply for being Jewish.

Eventually, Jews were no longer allowed in the school.

In November 1944, despite having false papers, Tomi was arrested along with his mother Judith, brother Miki, grandmother Roselle, aunt Margot and cousin Eva.

They were deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northern Germany.

Each morning in his ‘new home in hell’ began with Tomi facing a roll call in the freezing cold.

He would become used to the stench of the rotting corpses piled high around the camp, eventually playing among them, taking care to keep out of the way of the Nazis who used

the prisoners for target practice.

One day in April 1945 the German guards disappeared from the camp and another group of soldiers, with movie cameras and food rations, arrived.

Tomi’s grandmother passed away in Bergen-Belsen. Tomi, his mother, brother, aunt and cousin Eva survived. Tomi lost 35 close family members in the Holocaust.

He came to Ireland in 1960 and has lived in Dublin ever since.

He regularly talks to Irish schools about his wartime experiences.

A documentary about Tomi’s attempts to meet one of his jailers, Close to Evil, has been shown on TV and in cinemas throughout the world, and helped again to raise the profile of the Holocaust.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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