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Auschwitz survivor Eugene Black to speak in Huddersfield

His horrific memories are part of Holocaust Memorial event

It is a number that he will never, ever, forget.

55546 was the number that Eugene Black was given when, aged 16, he entered the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in May 1944.

Now, more than 70 years on, the Yorkshireman’s story is to be recalled in Huddersfield.

Mr Black is in his late 80s and unwell but his daughter, Lilian will speak at the University of Huddersfield next week as part of a Holocaust Memorial project.

Eugene was born Jeno Schwartz in Munkacs, Czechoslovakia, in 1928. His mother came from an orthodox Jewish family, though his father, a master tailor, did not. And though religion played little part in Eugene’s upbringing, it bought him and his family little sympathy from the crusading Nazis.

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His remarkable story of resilience, despair and ultimate searching is being told as part of this year’s University of Huddersfield Holocaust Memorial Day events at a special lecture taking place on Thursday, January 28, (6pm to 7pm).

Mr Black survived Auschwitz and slave labour at concentration camps Buchenwald and Dora Mittelbau, before suffering illness and transfer to the infamous Bergen-Belsen.

He lives in Leeds and his daughter chairs the Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association. She will explain, her father’s fight for survival was epic in the extreme.

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Having watched an SS soldier assault his mother, Eugene and his two sisters were sent in cattle trucks to Auschwitz, where they were separated.

He was selected for slave labour and sent to Buchenwald before moving to Dora Mittelbau, where he worked on the V1 and V2 rockets. The labourers worked up to 12 to 14 hours a day without rest and on starvation rations.

Eugene would eventually succumb to pneumonia and was sent to the infamous concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen, which was fortunately liberated in April 1945 by the advancing British Army.

Aged just 17, Eugene found himself liberated, but homeless, stateless and without his entire family, save one older brother. The young man worked for the British Army as an interpreter and through his work he met his future wife, Mary, which he describes as his saviour. Both travelled to Britain, and to Leeds, in 1949.

To attend the talk log on to www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/holocaust-memorial-day-lecture-tickets-20037105522 .



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