Bergen-Belsen Holocaust survivor to tell his story here

In 1944, 9-year-old Tomi Reichental was deported from his native Slovakia to the notorious Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. After the war, he eventually settled in Ireland, where he married, had a family and never spoke of his ordeal.

Since breaking his silence, Reichental has come close to evil in the form of one of his former SS guards, and forged an unusual friendship with the granddaughter of a man who played a role in the murder of 35 members of his family.

Reichental will share his story with the topic, “Close to Evil” as the featured speaker for the Tulsa Council for Holocaust Education’s 19th Annual Yom HaShoah/Interfaith Holocaust Commemoration on May 5 at 7 p.m. at Temple Israel, 2004 E. 22nd Place.

The public is invited to the free presentation, which is recommended for ages 12 and older. Parking is limited at Temple Israel, but overflow parking will be available at Utica Square.

After the commemoration, Reichental will sign copies of his memoir, I Was a Boy in Belsen, which addresses Reichental’s life before, during and after the Holocaust. Copies of the book will be available to purchase at the commemoration or in advance at the Jewish Federation of Tulsa, 2021 E. 71st St.

The Holocaust Commemoration is sponsored by the Tulsa Council for Holocaust Education (a committee of the Jewish Federation of Tulsa) and the Tulsa City-County Library, in cooperation with dozens of local interfaith and community organizations.

As in past years, the commemoration program includes an exhibit of artwork created by Tulsa area students of the Holocaust. In addition, there will be a candle-lighting in memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust. Plus, the Tulsa City-County Library will have available for checkout many Holocaust books and media.

To complement the commemoration, the Circle Cinema, 10 S. Lewis, will show ‘Til the Tenth Generation, a feature-length documentary about Reichental’s life, on April 17 at 2 p.m. Visit or call 918-585-3504 for ticket information.

Contact the Jewish Federation of Tulsa at 918-495-1100 for more information about the commemoration.