http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2 ... 1/019.html'Last World War II Prisoner' Dies 4 Years After His Release
The Associated Press BUDAPEST, Hungary -- A former Hungarian soldier, who spent more than 50 years in Russia as a forgotten prisoner of World War II, died Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said.
Andras Toma became known here as the "last prisoner of war," after he returned from decades in captivity in Soviet prisoner of war camps and psychiatric hospitals. The ministry gave no details on what caused his death. Soviet soldiers captured Toma in 1944 when he fought with Hungarian forces allied with Nazi Germany. After becoming mentally ill for a short time, he was apparently lost by the Soviet bureaucracy and remained in custody even after thousands of his compatriots were sent home after the war.
He was considered mentally unbalanced because his native Hungarian was mistaken for gibberish, and in 1947 was transferred to a psychiatric hospital in Kotelnich, 700 kilometers east of Moscow. A Hungarian-speaking Slovak doctor met Toma by chance at the clinic and thought he recognized his language. The Hungarian Embassy in Moscow was contacted and Toma was flown to Budapest in August 2000.
Toma had one leg amputated and had forgotten his own name. But once home, a nationwide search began for relatives who could identify him. A brother and half-sister came forward and DNA analysis proved their relationship.
Toma spent his last years living with relatives near the eastern town of Nyiregyhaza, where he grew up.
In a 2001 interview, Toma's half-sister, Anna Gabulya, told of the difficulties Toma had in settling into his new home. "When I wanted to stroke his arm, he'd say, 'Don't touch me!'" Gabulya said. "He'd eat breakfast silently and then say, 'Let's go.' I said, 'Go? There is nowhere to go. This is your home."'
The Hungarian Defense Ministry said Toma will be buried with full military honors. A date for the funeral was not announced.
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Over het hier en nu (nieuwsberichten, actualiteiten en dergelijke, in relatie met WOII)
3 berichten • Pagina 1 van 1
- Roel R.
- Berichten: 5675
- Lid geworden op: 21 sep 2003, 01:50