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Holocaust survivor shares testimony as University of Bristol marks Holocaust Memorial Day

Young Paul Sved and his mother - Milan Perera

By Milan Perera, News Reporter

Holocaust survivor Paul Sved delivered a moving testimony of his experience during the Holocaust at the official Holocaust Memorial Day event organised by the University of Bristol Jewish Society (JSoc) under the auspices of Holocaust Educational Trust.

Paul Sved - Milan Perera

Mr Sved who joined the event via a Zoom link spoke of his experience in his native Hungary when the European Jewry was under the threat of a complete extermination by the Nazis.

The event consisted of an address by Paul Sved followed by a Q & A session moderated by Gerry Dillon of the Holocaust Educational Trust while the technical aspects of the event from Pugsley Lecture Theatre at the Queen’s Building were handled by Daniel Grossman of the University of Bristol Jewish Society.

In his address Mr. Sved, who is 84, recalled how he was forced out of his home in Hungary with his mother when he was just six years old, narrowly surviving the Nazi genocide as the ‘Red Armies’ of the Soviet Union halted the advance of the Nazis which later turned out to be a turning point in the WWII.

During 1944 life became more difficult for Sved and the fellow members of the Jewish community in Budapest as they were forced to wear a yellow star on their clothing as a moniker of their Jewish identity. He and his mother managed to secure a space in a Swiss protected house known as ‘The Glass House’ where they were safe for a few weeks before having to move on.

The mandatory yellow star - Milan Perera

Even after the defeat of the Nazis in 1945, Sved and his mother were not out of danger as they were considered ‘Class Enemies’ by the Communist government of Hungary which compelled Sved to seek for a safer exit.

Pugsley Lecture Theatre - Milan Perera

He concluded his address by recounting his two-day train journey to England where he was greeted with warmth and acceptance.

Pugsley Lecture Theatre - Milan Perera

In a lively Q & A  session Mr. Sved expanded on many aspects that he previously touched upon, especially the lessons to be learned from the Holocaust in order to avoid similar atrocities in future.

Speaking to Epigram about the event, JSoc President Harry Issacs pointed out that:

'This event is a staple piece of the Jewish Society calendar and we wanted to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day with the respect it deserves. We were so fortunate to have Paul Sved BEM share his testimony.'

He further reiterated that:

       'Hopefully this talk will act as a reminder about the atrocities of the Holocaust and that Holocaust education is also not just limited to this day once a year.'