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Holocaust survivor sharing his story in Cedar Falls

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A horrific childhood giving one man a purpose to educate.

Holocaust survivor Peter Gorog speaking Tuesday at the University of Northern Iowa.

Peter Gorog was born as we were entering the Second World War.

"They asked them, 'Are you crazy to have a child at a time like this?" said Peter, referring to the question his parents were asked over and over by friends.

 A Jewish Hungarian boy born and growing up in a community surrounded by people's hate for his kind.

His father was sent to a forced labor camp and died there.

When forced out of their apartment, Peter and his mother hid with a Catholic friend until a neighbor reported them. 

"I vividly remember because we were sitting at the breakfast table and two policemen came, with fancy uniforms, and took my mom. I didn't know what was happening," recalls Peter.

His mother was able to escape jail and escape being sent to a concentration camp.

Now four, Peter and his mother continued to escaping the death camps by waiting out the war in a Swedish Embassy owned apartment.

But there is one haunting photo for Peter.

"It was taken at the railway platform as Hungarian Jews are taken off from the cattle cars and started to march to the gas chambers. . . It is emotionally very hard because I could have been one of them. I survived because of my mother's bravery, because of divine intervention. I can not explain, but I realize it is my duty to preserve the memory of those children," said Peter.

Peter grew up in Communist Hungary before defecting to the United States in 1980 and working for NASA.

Peter now works as a volunteer for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and travels the country sharing his story to help prevent that kind of hate in the future.

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