Peter Somogyi was born in 1933 in Pecks, Hungary. Born into an observant Jewish family, Peter and his twin brother, Thomas, were the youngest of three children. September 1st, 1939 would mark Peter’s first day of elementary school and the very first day of WW2. On March 19th, 1944, Germany invaded Hungary. Shortly after the German invasion, Peter’s father was deported to the Dachau concentration camp, and Peter and his family moved into the ghetto. On July 6th, 1944, he and his family and eighty other people were loaded onto cattle trains and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
With a flick of his finger, Dr. Joseph Mengele, also known as the “Angel of Death,” was to decide the fates of those arriving in Auschwitz. Peter’s mother instructed her twin sons to say they were nine years old instead of their actual age of eleven in an attempt to keep the family together. Dr. Mengele had other plans for her sons. After the third time she was asked, Peter’s mother revealed that her sons were twins. This admission would greatly satisfy Dr. Mengele, who used twins as part of his sadistic experiments. The SS grabbed Peter and his brother without a chance to say goodbye to their mother and sister. Soon after, they would learn it would be the last time they would see them alive.
The number #A17454 was tattooed on Peter’s arm, marking his new identity in Auschwitz. Peter and his brother were lucky enough to be the last group of twins to arrive in Auschwitz. Unlike the twins before them, although still sadistic and cruel, they were not subjected to undergo deadly experiments. On one particular day, a different doctor had selected the twins to the gas chambers, but Dr. Mengele intervened. He was not yet finished using the twins as his guinea pigs. Peter was liberated on January 27th by the Russian army.
Two and a half months after liberation, Peter returned home. Peter’s father survived Dachau and remarried. With the help of the Zionist Movement, Peter and his brother escaped Hungary and resettled in Israel. Peter spent two years in a Kibbutz, followed by three years in the Israeli army and eventually Officer’s school. In 1956, Peter moved to England, where he lived for two years. He eventually moved to Canada and met his wife, a fellow Survivor who hid during the war, and in 1970, they moved to the US. Peter and his wife have two children and four grandchildren.
What does Auschwitz mean to you?
Hatred, cruelty and losing most of my family
My message for future generations is…
Never forget and keep telling the story
Who will be accompanying you on this journey?
My Grandson Noah Trungold
He is 20 years old College student and very involved with our family history and the Holocaust.