Survivors' Stories

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
Elie Wiesel

Gabor Hirsch

  • From: Hungary (Békéscsaba)
  • Liberated from: Poland (Auschwitz Birkenau)
  • Deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau from: Hungary (Ghetto Békéscsaba)
  • Current Location: Switzerland
  • Year of birth: 1929

Brief Bio

Gábor Hirsch, born Dec. 9, 1929, in Békéscsaba, Hungary.  Gábor was an only child and his parents owned an electrical, radio and bicycle shop. He and his parents were not very religious, they belonged to the neology Jewish community.

Hungary was invaded by Germany on March 19, 1944, and by May the about 2500 Jews of Békéscsaba had been concentrated in 100 Jewish houses near the synagogue. By mid-June, all the Jews were sent to the Békéscsaba ghetto, located at the tobacco factory. Gábor’s father was sent to military forced labor, Gábor and his mother were transported to Nazi German Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz by cattle car with 3,118 people, arriving on June 29, 1944. Upon their arrival, Gábor and his mother both survived the first selection, though they were separated to different subcamps within Auschwitz, Gábor with his cousin Tibor to the BIIe gypsy camp, his mother to BIII Gábor was able to see his mother twice during a work commando. It was the last time he would ever see her; she perished December 18 in Stutthof. Gábor passed a few more selections, but in October the Nazis sent him and 600 others to the gas chambers. They had to undress, when some officers held another examination and found 51 boys, including Gábor, fit for work and allowed them to leave. By the middle of January, Nazis evacuated the camp Gábor being weak, stayed until the Soviet Army liberated the camp on Jan. 27, 1945. He recuperated in Auschwitz and other DP-camps before reuniting with his father in Budapest.

Gábor graduated from a technical high school and continued his studies at university. In 1956, during the Hungarian Revolution, he immigrated to Switzerland, where he graduated as electrical engineer. He married his wife Margrit in 1968 and they had two sons, Mathias and Michael, and three grandchildren. In 1994 he founded with a Mengele twin Otto Klein the «Kontaktstelle für Überlebende des Holocaust»

What does Auschwitz mean to you?

Auschwitz represents the worst crime in the 20th century and it was the worst time in my life

My message for future generations is…

Be aware of and fight any indoctrination and any kind of discrimination racism, antisemitism or other kind of exclusions

Who will be accompanying you on this journey? 

Both my sons, Michael and Mathias Hirsch. They have accompanied me several times to Auschwitz as well as to commemoration in Békéscsaba.