George William Brent
George was born in Tacovo, Czechoslovakia, near the Hungarian border, on August 30, 1929, the oldest of two sons. His father was a successful pharmacist. George received a classical education, learning many languages; his mother was Hungarian, his father Czech and his nanny German.
On May 30, 1939, George was transported to a home for Jews in Hungary, then to a ghetto, and finally to Birkenau Camp, at age fourteen. His uncle, also in Birkenau, helped run the camp and assigned him to take care of the officers’ quarters. In January 1945, the pair were transported to the Austrian mountains to build tunnels. One day, the guards deserted the camp; there was no food or clothing. The American 38th Division rescued them. He then volunteered at a field hospital. The Red Cross reunited him with his father in 1946. His aunt and brother joined them. He then spent time in a children’s center, learning to be a teacher. In 1949, George came to the United States, settling with his uncle in Chicago. He became a citizen in 1955.
He worked at Parker Pen Co, with an interruption of 22 months for Korean War service. He remained in the reserves after the war. After the war, George worked for a dentist in Harvey (Illinois), who suggested he become a dentist. George attended Wilson Junior College, finishing his education at dental school.
While in dental school, in 1960, George met his wife. He got an offer to teach in 1961 at the school. They raised four daughters and now have eight grandchildren, all in the Chicago suburbs.
When he retired, he began volunteering at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and continues in that role, a very satisfying experience, he says.