Holocaust survivor George Fodor said his gravest recollection of the atrocities that took place during his stay in the concentration camps in Austria was one of constant hunger. He remembers having sores all over his body from lack of hygiene and medical help. He was 12 years old when his country of Hungary was invaded by the Nazis, and his father was taken to the labor camps.
Fodor shared his experience with 35 Northwest Vista College employees and friends on Friday, Mar. 9, at the Holocaust Memorial Museum which is part of the Jewish Community Center on N.W. Military Drive in San Antonio.
Fodor, 80, is one of only three living Holocaust survivors who shares his experience at the museum with school tours and other visitors to the Jewish Community Center.
“I had no idea we had a memorial in San Antonio. I visited the one in Washington, D.C. twice and was unable to get through the entire tour,” said NVC employee Kelly Blanco, who signed up for the museum tour organized by the NVC Peace and Conflict Studies program and Faculty Development.
NVC geography instructor and coordinator of Faculty Development, Melody Crenshaw said she was thrilled with the attendance.
"We had a tremendous turnout including a few children, parents, and spouses of our employees," she added.
NVC Peace and Conflict Studies coordinator, Carlos López, said “This field trip was multipurpose: to further educate faculty and staff on the Holocaust and about the consequences of prejudice, discrimination, stereotypes and racism; to promote our Peace and Conflict Studies program and recruit faculty to infuse a conflict resolution emphasis across disciplines; and to continue developing our relationship with the San Antonio Holocaust Museum as part of our reaching out to and working with our community and better understanding among people. “
Fodor, his mother and sister all survived numerous labor camps in Austria and Czechoslovakia and returned to Hungary after the war only to find their home already occupied by other people. His father was taken to three separate labor camps and died when the Allied Forces freed the camp.
In 1956 at the time of the Hungarian revolution, Fodor’s mother sent her only son and daughter to the United States in hopes for a better life for her children. Six years later, Fodor and his sister reunited with their mother in Corpus Christi, Texas. Fodor later got a Ph.D. in chemistry from Rice University and worked as a chemist for over 30 years at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.
“To talk about it is to pay homage to my parents, grandparents and other people who died,” Fodor said. “Our primary duty to ourselves and to God is to preserve our life, to preserve the life of our family, our community and the nation.”