Tibor Klopfer would always ask about a tattoo he saw on his father Michael’s arm. His dad would simply say, “The Nazis did that to me,” but wouldn’t elaborate much more.
It wasn’t until years later he learned that his father, a Hungarian immigrant, was in Auschwitz during World War II, and his first wife and two young daughters died in German, forced-labor camps.
Klopfer, an attorney with Faegre Baker Daniels, said it’s important to remember the Holocaust, not just because of the history and the personal connections, but because it could happen again if people don’t learn from the past.
“We need to understand that this thing can happen, has happened and indeed is happening today,” he said. “Hopefully, by remembering what happened in the past, we’ll avoid the same sorts of events, genocides and atrocities happening on that sort of scale. Of course, that hasn’t been successful because we all know those sorts of things are going on in various parts of the world, but we have to try.”
Klopfer will be the guest speaker at the 2016 City of Carmel’s Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony at noon May 6 at the Booth Tarkington Theatre.
Klopfer’s parents, Manci and Michael, were both imprisoned in concentration camps in Poland and Germany and met after the war. Both survived, but they both had several family members who perished in forced labor camps.
Manci was deported from a rural ghetto in Hungary and taken to a slave labor camp in the countryside.
Klopfer hopes his speech will put a human face on a tragic period in world history.