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Dr. Francis "Frank" Dukes-Dobos, before a stairway at the Holocaust Center. Among the family that Dukes-Dobos lost was his sister Margit Steinbach, who gave up the will to live after her children were gassed.
(Times photo / Fred Victorin)

'I have not forgiven'

By Waveney Ann Moore, Times Staff Writer

Her children murdered, Margit Steinbach lost her will to live and starved herself to death. They all died at Auschwitz.

Otto was only 11 and Eva, 13, when the Nazis killed them in the gas chamber.

Their uncle, Dr. Francis Dukes-Dobos, will never forget the loss of his sister and her children.

"People who were with her said she became very depressed and gave up on her own life," the semi-retired physician said. "She was very religious and gave away food to others and was ready to die."

Dukes-Dobos, an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida, lost Margit, 38, and a second sister, 25-year-old Edith Frankel, who died of tuberculosis a few months after the war.

Edith "was a healthy young woman when they took her away, and when we met her she was skin and bones,'' said Dukes-Dobos, who blames the harshness of concentration camp life for her death.

Francis Dukes-Dobos' sister

Photo courtesy of Francis Dukes-Dobos

A family portrait of Margit Steinbach and her two children, Otto, left, and Eva. Margit's brother, Francis Dukes-Dobos, will never forget them.

The pain is still sharp today.

"I feel very depressed and sad and disturbed and anything which you may say in connection with a situation where your sisters or brothers were killed because they were Jewish," Dukes-Dobos said. "I feel disturbed and sad and angry."

Dukes-Dobos, who lives in Clearwater, was born in Budapest, Hungary, part of an upper-middle-class family that was very active in Jewish religious and secular life.

In 1941, he was sent to a slave labor camp. He escaped after three years and sought asylum at the Swiss consulate in Budapest. He was one of a crowd that slept on straw in the cellar until the Russians liberated them weeks later.

Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz, who was inspired by Raoul Wallenberg, the Swede who helped save thousands of Jews, protected Dukes-Dobos' family.

Three sisters and his parents survived. But he cannot forget those who did not.

"Those who were Nazis, I have not forgiven them," said Dukes-Dobos, who is 77.

His daughter, Anna, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., knows her father's story.

"She should know why I am what I am, and how I act and so forth. I felt obligated as a survivor to fight against anti-Semitism so that it should never happen again."

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