Holocaust survivor and activist Gábor Hirsch dies in Switzerland

Gábor Hirsch, the founder and former president of the Swiss Contact Point for Holocaust Survivors passed away died on August 20th in Zurich at the age of 90.

His family announced his death in an obituary. Hirsch was born on December 9, 1929 in Békéscsaba, Hungary. When he was 14 years old, he was transported along with his mother and more than 3,000 Jews in a cattle car to the Auschwitz concentration camp in June 1944. He was separated from his mother, who later died in the camp.

Hirsch was sent to the gas chambers in October by the Nazis, along with 600 other Jews. His life was spared at the last minute when in an examination officers deemed him fit enough to work.
The Soviet Army eventually liberated the camp on January 27, 1945 and he reunited in Budapest with his father, who had been sent by the Nazis to a forced labour camp.

Hirsch immigrated to Switzerland in 1956 during the Hungarian revolution. Along with Otto Klein – another Holocaust survivor who was a twin experimented on by Josef Mengele – he founded the self-help group Swiss Contact Point for Holocaust Survivors (Kontaktstelle für Überlebende des Holocaust) in 1994.

The objective of the association was to establish and promote relations between survivors, maintain contacts with foreign associations, lobby for compensation, raise awareness of racism, antisemitism and Holocaust deniers, reappraise the role of Switzerland in the Second World War and support members in documenting their past. The association was eventually dissolved in 2011.

“Be aware of and fight any indoctrination and any kind of discrimination, racism, antisemitism or other kind of exclusions,” was his message to future generations in a testimony.

In 2019, Gábor Hirsch told his story to the Gamaraal Foundation :




Footage courtesy of the Gamaraal Foundation, a Swiss foundation fthat supports Holocaust survivors in need and ipromotes Holocaust education.


Subscribe to the EJC newsletter

Get the EJC newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

browse by community