Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental is International Person of the Year 2014

Last Saturday 6th December, Tomi Reichental received the InternationalPerson of the Year award 2014. One of only 2 Holocaust survivors inIreland, Tomi Reichental was born in 1935 in Slovakia.  He witnessedfirst-hand the horrors of life in a concentration camp, when he wasdeported with his family to Bergen Belsen concentration camp aged justnine. Tomi’s grandmother, Rosali died in Bergen Belsen and he watched asher body was dragged from a hut and thrown among a pile of corpses. Foreight months, Tomi watched as thousands perished until he was liberatedfrom the camp in 1945 along with his mother, brother, cousin and aunt, andwas reunited with his father.Tomi has lived in Dublin since 1959, marrying, raising three sons andrunning a successful business. For almost 60 years after his release fromBelsen, he was unable to talk about his experiences but now dedicateshimself to telling the story so that  the victims of the Holocaust are notforgotten and the horrors of  racism are understood and not repeated.Tomi visits two schools every week and a Teacher’s Guide has been developedbased on his story so that others may teach children about the Holocaust.Students all over Ireland have heard Tomi’s story and in January 2008 RTÉbroadcast the film “I Was a Boy in Belsen”, bringing his story to an evenwider audience.In October 2011, Tomi published his first book by the same title and he isnow writing his second book at age 79. As one of the last remainingwitnesses of these war crimes, Tomi is committed to highlighting the impactof the Holocaust.In the documentary “Close to Evil” broadcast last September, Tomi meAlexandra Senff, the granddaughter of the man was responsible for thedeportation of over 70,000 Slovak Jews to the death camps.  They are seentogether at the awards ceremony where they talk of the importance ofremembering.For his dedication to peace, truth, reconciliation, to tolerance andforgiveness and to the rejection of all forms of racism and discrimination,Tomi Reichental is the International Person of the Year.Link to RTE programme “People of the Year” (about 24 minutes in) –http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/10352289/You can see Tomi’s account of his experiences at this link –http://www.hetireland.org/index.php?page=survivor_reichental

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