Holocaust survivors in Ireland
A handful of Jewish Holocaust survivors came to Ireland after WWll. Some were brought here as child refugees from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp by Dr Bob Collis who worked there with the British Red Cross in the immediate aftermath of the war. Others came by other means. All of them made their homes in Ireland, eventually marrying and settling down and raising their own children.
Suzi Diamond from Debrecin in Hungary, was deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on the last transport of Jews to leave Budapest. Suzi and her brother Terry survived and were brought to Ireland by Dr Bob Collis who arranged for them to be adopted by a Jewish couple in Dublin. All of Suzi’s family perished in the Holocaust. Suzi lives in Dublin with her husband, Alec. They have a grown-up son and daughter. Read Suzi’s story
Jan Kaminski was born in 1932 in the village of Balgoraj in Poland. At the age of ten he escaped a round-up of the Jews and fled into the forests. He spent the war on the run. Jan survived but his entire family perished. Jan lives in Dublin, close to his daughters Jadzia and Orla and their children. His son Jaz lives in Bosnia. Read Jan’s story
Tomi Reichental was born in Piestany in Slovakia in 1935. He was nine years old when the Nazis deported him with his mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin and brother to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Tomi lost 35 members of his family in the Holocaust. He came to Ireland in 1960. Tomi lives in Dublin with his partner, Joyce. Read Tomi’s story
Doris Segal from Czechoslovakia whose parents came to Ireland in the 1930s to work in the hat factories in the West of Ireland. Doris currently lives in Dublin where she is a member of the Irish Jewish community. Read Doris’ story
Rosel Siev escaped from Germany to England before WWll, nearly all of her family perished in the Holocaust. After being widowed, Rosel married for a second time to a widowed Irish solicitor, Stanley Siev. They lived in Dublin until 2012 when they moved to Manchester to be closer to their children, grandchldren and great grandchildren. Stanley passed away in 2014. Read Rosel’s story
Helen Lewis from Prague was deported with her husband, Paul Hermann, to Thererienstadt in 1942. She ultimately survived Auschwitz and Stuthof concentration camps as well as death marches, but Paul perished. In 1947 Helen married a friend who had escaped to Northern Ireland and moved to Belfast. Helen passed away on the 31 December 2009. Read Helen’s story
Geoffrey Phillips from Germany who escaped on the Kindertransports to England via Holland in 1938. He never saw his family again. He came to Ireland in 1951. Geoffrey passed away on the 04 August 2011. Read Geoffrey’s story
Inge Radford was born in Vienna, one of 10 children. She escaped to England on the Kindertransports in July 1939. Her widowed mother and five of her brothers were deported to Riga and murdered in Maly Trostinec. Inge lived in Northern Ireland with her husband Colin, close to their daughter, Katy and their grandchildren. Inge passed away in March 2016 Read Inge’s story
Edith Sekules nee Mendel, was born in Vienna in 1916. When the Nazis annexed Austria, Edith and her husband fled to Tallinn in Estonia but when Hitler took over Russia in 1941, Edith and her husband and their baby daughter were deported to the east. Edith passed away on the 20 February 2008. Read Edit’s story
Edith Zinn-Collis was brought back to Ireland in 1946 with her brother Zoltan by Dr Bob Collis who reared them in his own home. Edith remained single and lived in Wicklow. Her brother Zoltan passed away in December 2012 and she died three weeks later.
Zoltan Zinn-Collis was not sure of the date of his birth but he thought it was 1940, in Czechoslovakia. He was transported to Ravensbruck and then to Bergen Belsen with his sister and brothers. Zoltan was brought back to Ireland in 1946 by Dr Bob Collis with his sister, Edith, who reared them in his own home. Zoltan took the Collis name as part of his own. Zoltan passed away suddenly in 2012. Read Zoltan’s story
Today, in 2016, Tomi, Suzi and Jan are the remaining Holocaust survivors living in Ireland.
HETI is mindful that as the number of witnesses diminishes, it is essential that their stories are heard and their experiences recorded. Each story is different, each memory is unique, each of them lost countless members of their families in the Holocaust.