Peter Somogyi

Peter Somogyi

Born: April 14, 1933

Pecs, Hungary

Peter and his twin brother, Thomas, were the youngest of three children born to an observant Jewish family. They lived in Pecs, an industrial center where goods such as bricks and ceramics were produced. Peter's father owned a prosperous business selling accessories and parts for cars, motorcycles and bicycles. He was also a regional sales representative for Ford automobiles.

1933-39: A German nanny took care of Peter, Thomas, and their older sister. She taught them German and they became quite fluent. When my Peter and Thomas turned 5, they began piano lessons at home. The next year they joined a boy scout troop. On September 1, 1939, they began school. That day they heard on the radio that Germany had invaded Poland. Five years later, they were deported to Auschwitz with their mother and sister.

1940-44: Male twins and some dwarfs lived in Peter's half of the barracks. Right outside was a crematorium, where bodies, stacked like logs, waited to be burned. An older twin was assigned to watch over them; he taught them math and geography. Sometimes the guards took all the twins to a soccer field to kick around a rag ball. Then there were all their visits to the infamous Dr. Mengele. Peter and Thomas were examined together. He measured their heads and compared their eyes. An assistant took blood. Dr. Mengele liked them because they spoke German.

Peter and his brother were liberated from Auschwitz by the Soviet army on January 27, 1945. They returned to Pecs before immigrating to Israel in mid-1949.

Thank you for supporting our work

We would like to thank Crown Family Philanthropies and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.