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John Dobai

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
24 September 1948
Mode of Arrival:
Came with a passport through father’s business contacts

Interview Summary:

In 1942 John’s father was called up to the army and dismissed two months later as a Jew. Two months later his father was sent to a labour camp. 1944 Germans occupied Hungary. John expelled from school and that’s when he found out that he came from a Jewish family. Had to leave flat and move to other house with other parents and children. Mother received false papers and handed her over to an organisation who found place for John in a family. After two months he was sent back due to chickenpox. Then went to a children home and got ill again and sent to mother. Two days later all the children in the home were killed by the Germans. Labour camp was dissolved and father walked back to Budapest. On the way to deportations, family was put in a block of flats. Father managed to get Swedish passports from Raul Wallenberg and place in a ‘Safe House’. Siege of Budapest started. 13 January first Russian Soldier appeared in the house.

So, it was a school holiday around that time. And a few days after Eichmann arrived, I went- I met a classmate, and I said to him, “I'm looking forward to going back to school.” And he said, well, he was going to go back to school but I'm not, because his father told him that I'm a dirty stinking Jew. So although I was ten, I started to cry. And I rushed back to my mother. And that was when she told me that we, in fact, come from a Jewish family. And, and a few days later there came out vast... posters, detailing the anti-Jewish legislation. You had to hand in your bank accounts, and your precious stones, and any gold, and hand over motor cars, and cameras, radios, carpets - anything of value. And of course we couldn't go to school.


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