CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Holocaust survivor Peter Gorog will present at the 9th Annual Norman Cohn Family Holocaust Remembrance and Education Lecture at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 4, in John Deere Auditorium in the Curris Business Building on the UNI campus.
Peter Gorog was born Péter Grünwald in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, on March 10, 1941. When German forces invaded Hungary in March 1944. Peter and his mother Olga first found refuge with a Christian friend. Just a few days later, a neighbor denounced Olga and Peter. Olga was jailed, but escaped two days later, and the family moved into an apartment safeguarded by Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. In October 1944, threatened with a new round of terror, they fled to the Budapest ghetto, where they lived with Peter’s grandparents, two aunts and a cousin in a one-bedroom apartment. They spent most of their time in the basement during the frequent Allied air raids. In January 1945, the Soviet Army liberated Budapest.
Peter grew up in communist Hungary and changed his family name in 1962 from Grünwald to Gorog in fear of anti-Semitic discrimination. He earned a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering and later participated in the design of the first Hungarian-made computer. In 1980 he defected to the United States, where he worked on various NASA projects, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope until his retirement in 2014.
The lecture series is funded by the Norman Cohn family and organized by the UNI Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education (CHGE). Norman Cohn is a native of Waterloo and a graduate of Iowa State Teachers College, known today as UNI. The event is free and open to the public. Peter Gorog’s visit is taking place under the auspices of the Office of Survivor Affairs of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.