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 :
Today we said Baruch Dayan HaEmet to our friend, teacher and mentor, the Holocaust survivor Gabor Hirsch – “Holocaust education was extremely important for him. He tirelessly fought racism and antisemitism. Gabor will always be a role model for us!” said Anita Winter, president of Gamaraal Foundation. You can hear his testimony in the video bellow. We will carry on his legacy and we will never forget.#WeRememberGabor was born in Hungary and he was deported to Auschwitz at the age of 15. He survived the concentration camp but his mother Ella couldn’t – she was 48 years old when she was killed in Stuthof. Until his death he lived in Switzerland and he always teached in schools and universities future generations about the Holocaust."At Auschwitz, I worked behind the women’s camp we had to cut grass bricks. I wanted to see my mother once more and I had brought her my bread ration. In fact, we managed to exchange a few words. But I couldn’t give her my bread. She gave me her ration instead. It was the last time I saw my mother.”
Posted by Gamaraal Foundation on Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Footage courtesy of the Gamaraal Foundation, a Swiss foundation fthat supports Holocaust survivors in need and ipromotes Holocaust education.