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Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
17 March 1957
Tomi (born Tamas) Komoly was born in 1936 in Budapest and his father was a scrap metal merchant. Alfred Komoly, (born Kohn), was called up to forced labour in 1943 and during a brief visit to his family, was denounced and killed in Budapest in 1944. An uncle, Otto Komoly had been instrumental in saving lives on the controversial ‘Kasztner Train’. Tomi and his mother survived in Swedish protected houses, in a non-Jewish home and in extremely harsh conditions in Budapest. They were liberated in January 1944. Tomi began university but left Hungary in 1956, crossing on foot into Austria. The Jewish Refugees Committee supported him and he finished a mechanical engineering course in Glasgow. He went on to do research at Imperial College and worked for ICI.
More & more as I go on in life, I want to give credit to my mother for some kind of inborn instinct or wisdom that probably women have more than men. She had a sense of what dangers lay ahead. Whereas the average Jewish person or family by this time acquired the mentality of ‘As long as we do as we’re told, we’re OK.’ ‘Don’t rattle the bush’, kind of thing. Don’t go outside your own sphere of ability & power. She must have been looking to see what is to come. And realised that the Yellow Star houses were just a 1st step towards rounding up people, putting them on trains to Auschwitz & other camps. By then there were 2 locations that had names. 1 was a railway station called Kistarcsa. The other was just referred to as the Téglagyár, the brick factory. Those two words entered my world. They achieved a kind of symbolism, the kind of penultimate danger. She was aware of that. And she though that staying in the Yellow Star house was going to be dangerous. And she was absolutely right, of course.