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Peter Brunner

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
3 December 1956
Interview number:


Dr Bea Lewkowicz

Date of Interview:

Interview Summary:

Peter was born in Cluj-Napoca, Romania in 1932 as the oldest of two boys to parents Mendel (Mandi) Brunner and Erzsebet née Mihaly. His father was a doctor, who had studied in Germany, and later practiced psychoanalysis. His parents moved to Budapest but in the holidays Peter and his brother Mihaly spend a lot of time in the estate of the paternal family in Zsombor and he has very fond memories of his time in Zsombor. 

He doesn’t remember much of the time in Budapest after the German occupation. He was taken to a safe house of the Swiss embassy with his brother Mihaly. Not much later his mother joined them and he remembers surviving the bombing of Budapest in a basement. He only saw his father again in June 1945. Mendel Brunner had been deported and survived several concentration camps (Auschwitz, Theresienstadt, Bergen-Belsen) and he lost most of his extended family in the Holocaust. The family moved to Budapest where his father practiced medicine and he attended the Arpad Gimnazium. 

The rise of communism made entering university difficult as he belonged neither to the worker nor peasant class, but in the end, he managed to start medical studies. He enjoyed life – rowing, concerts and meeting friends. However, the situation deteriorated and he decided to leave Hungary. He took a train to the Austrian border and was guided how to cross over. Peter got in touch with a Jewish organisation in Vienna who helped him to emigrate to the UK. His parents and his brother emigrated to Sweden later. He finished his medical training at St. Bart’s, qualified as a GP and joined a surgery in Eastcote. He met his wife Vera another Hungarian Jewish refugee (sister of RV interviewee Tom Keve) and they had two children. She became the manager of his surgery.

Key words:      Mendel Brunner. Cluj-Napoca, present day Romania/ Kolozsvar. Arpad Gimnazium Budapest. Zsombor/ Zimbor. Hungray. Romania. University Würzburg. Dr. Michael Balint. Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis. Sweden. Mihaly Brunner. Mihaly surname (maiden name mother). Kiskörös. Rezsö Kasztner. Swiss embassy. Schutzhaus. Siege of Budapest. Oswiecim (great-grandfather was from Oswiecim). St. Bartholomew’s. Vienna. Post-war emigration. Communism. Bernhard Baron Settlement. Keve. Auschwitz. Bergen-Belsen. Theresienstadt.


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