By Dylan Klim
Recently, a Holocaust survivor named Tibor Hollo, a humble man from Budapest, Hungary took time to share his story with the students and faculty of Lynn.
Hollo’s astonishing story was shared with 13 professors, 7 classes, over 90 students and 30 invited guests.
Now a successful realtor with a multi-million dollar company, Hollo was once a prisoner of the Nazi Germans. At the age of 17, Hollo was arrested in Paris and sent to the Drancy internment camp.
In the year of 1944, Hollo was sent to Auschwitz in a tiny boxcar that was almost as deadly as the concentration camps from what he described.
“Most of the passengers did not survive,” said Hollo. “Traveling to Auschwitz in those small boxcars made me appreciate the little things like fresh air. I did not know where Auschwitz was, but I knew I was being sent there to die.”
Hollo described the concentration camps in unexplainable words. He was tasked with cleaning the quarters of the soldiers’ homes.
“The soldiers didn’t care about us. If they wanted us dead, they would just do so, without question,” said Hollo.
Later in the same year, Hollo was forced with his father to walk on a Death March to Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. Close to 3,000 prisoners marched to Mauthausen, as only 1,300 actually made it to the camp.
“It was so cold that when prisoners fell, their cheeks would freeze to the ground. Germans would just shoot them out of inhumane, not letting them freeze to death,” said Hollo.
After almost spending a year in Austria, Hollo was liberated on May 5, 1945. He left Austria as an eighteen-year-old who stood over six-feet-tall and only weighed ninety pounds.
Hollo arrived in the United States in 1949, where he worked for a curtain factory and made forty-five cents an hour. Later, he became a successful general contractor in New York, and by 1956 he relocated to Miami. He founded Florida East Coast Realty (FECR) and in 1967 married Sheila Hollo.
As Tibor Hollo told his story, the audience remained completely silent. It was almost as if the air had left the room entirely. Tibor Hollo’s story was so was graphic, as if he brought it to life again.
In the end, Hollo gave his advice to students, expressing that when they reach certain obstacles in life, they should never forget about the knowledge that they have.
“Always hold your head high, educate yourself. Education defines you,” said Hollo.