Black River Technical College, in cooperation with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will host Holocaust survivor Peter Gorog for three presentations October 25-26.
Gorog will be speaking at 9:30 a.m. both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening. All presentations will be held in the Randolph County Development Center auditorium on the BRTC Pocahontas Campus.
According to the USHMM website, Peter Gorog was born on March 10, 1941 in Budapest, Hungary. Peter’s father, Árpád Grünwald, worked as an office manager at a publishing house and his mother, Olga Schönfeld, was a hat-maker. As a result of antisemitic laws, Árpád was assigned into a forced labor battalion in October 1940. He was allowed to go home for Peter’s birth but was quickly sent back to service and in 1943 was declared dead by the Hungarian Ministry of Defense.
Olga supported the family through hat-making until she and Peter were forced out of their apartment. After German forces invaded Hungary in March, Olga and Peter moved in with a Christian friend. Just a few days later, a neighbor denounced them. Olga was arrested and taken to a jail from which she escaped two days later. She and Peter moved into an apartment safeguarded by a Swedish diplomat. In October, Olga and Peter fled a reign of terror and moved into the Budapest ghetto. They lived with Peter’s grandparents, two aunts, and a cousin in a one bedroom apartment. In January, the Soviet Army liberated Budapest. However, Peter’s grandparents died of malnutrition and lack of medical care a few months later.
In 1962 Peter changed his name from Grünwald to Gorog for fear of discrimination. He earned a Master of Science in electrical engineering and defected to the United States in 1980 where he worked on NASA projects including the Hubble Telescope.
The presentations are free and open to the public. Sponsors of the event include SEAS Project of the BRTC Foundation; Mike and Barbara Dunn; First National Bank of Walnut Ridge, Hoxie, Pocahontas, and Bono; Brett and Karen Liebhaber; and Integrity First Bank.
For more information or to schedule a group contact Jessica Bailey at (870) 248-4189.