Eugene Black first walked into my home outside Leeds 40 years ago when I was in my early twenties.
He was the father of a friend of my younger brother, and would collect him after there'd been at a party or other gathering.
Following the death of my brother at the age of 30 in 1983 I didn't see a lot of Eugene.
Moving on 20 years to the early 2000s, I met Eugene in another context. I was reporting on an event organised by the Holocaust Survivors' Friendship Association, which is based in West Yorkshire.
I discovered Eugene was a Holocaust survivor, a Czechoslovakian, Jewish by birth. His Czech name was Jeno Schwarzc.
At the age of 15 he'd been in the nazi Auschwitz concentration camp, then in slave labour camps and finally Bergen-Belsen in Germany.
I'd had no idea. Neither had hundreds of others who had come to know Eugene since his arrival in Britain in 1949, because for half a century he'd been silent about his experiences. Like thousands of others, he'd locked the bad memories away.
That began to change after 1996, with the founding of the Holocaust Survivors' Friendship Association.
A number of survivors began to meet and talk together in Leeds, which had Britain's third-largest Jewish community after London and Manchester.
The association was established to bring survivors together, enabling them to talk of shared experiences to others who would understand, to end the isolation of individuals and to develop friendships.
Out of that came a recognition that the individuals' experiences needed to be passed on to a far wider community.
Some survivors began to write books telling their stories. They began addressing gatherings in schools, colleges, universities, community centres and prisons.
There was more than one purpose behind their actions. They believed that their horrific experiences under the nazis should be told to new generations in the hope that the terror of the Holocaust might never happen again.
Age was beginning to take its toll, and eventually there would be no-one left to recount the experiences first-hand. Most survivors are now in their eighties.
Another purpose was a deeply felt responsibility to bear witness on behalf of the millions who did not survive.
It didn't happen all at once. It was 2001 before Eugene began to open up about his experiences. Now 84, he has devoted over a decade to speaking engagements.
Eugene's story is well-recorded and accessible.
His mother, father and his three sisters and a brother lived in a part of Czechoslovakia which was incorporated into Hungary after the nazis invaded in 1938.
The family remained safe until Hungary was invaded in 1944. The nazis immediately began to round up 400,000 Jewish Hungarians.
Eugene and his family were taken by cattle truck to Auschwitz-Birkenau in occupied Poland. He was separated from his family. He was given a number which erased his identity, 55546. He was 15 years old.
After 10 days he was transferred to Buchenwald in Germany, then to a sub-camp at Dora Mittelbau in the Harz mountains, extending a tunnel where V1 and V2 rockets were being made.
He laboured 12 to 14 hours a day on starvation rations. On average slave labourers there lasted three months.
His weight plummeted. He contracted double pneumonia. He puts his survival down to the compassion of a German doctor - a Luftwaffe officer.
In March 1945, the prisoners were moved to Belsen. Typhus was rife. Bodies lay everywhere. On arrival at Mittelbau he had weighed 11.5 stone. His weight fell to five stone.
On April 15 the British army liberated the camp.
Eugene learned that his father, mother and sisters had all perished. An elder brother, in the Czech army, survived.
Eugene ended up in Britain, married and had four children. He worked for Marks and Spencer, becoming a warehouse manager.
Now retired he lives in the village of Pool-in-Wharfedale outside Leeds - one of a dwindling band of Holocaust survivors able to recount experiences of what happened first-hand.
However the work will continue, whatever happens. Descendants of the survivors, a second and third generation, are taking up the work.
Eugene's daughter Lillian is now chairwoman of the Holocaust Survivors' Friendship Association.
The death toll in the Holocaust included six million Jewish people, three million Russians, mainly prisoners of war, an estimated half a million travelling people and hundreds of thousands of communists, pacifists, gay men and women, disabled and religious people.
The motivation behind the survivors' work extends beyond the Holocaust itself. Since WWII genocide has continued, including in Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur.
Eugene's daughter Lillian says: "We want to alert people to the danger of persecution today, show that stereotyping leads to persecution and that persecution leads to genocide."
Another survivor I knew, the late John Chillag who also settled in West Yorkshire and was an inspirational speaker, once said: "When I came out of Buchenwald I thought it could never happen again. How wrong I was."
But he had hope. "Perpetrators in situations like that are a relatively small number. People who actively do something about it are fewer still, but than you get the indifferent masses who just turn the other cheek … they have the choices, they have the responsibility and if people take these choices one day there won't be any more Holocausts."
Holocaust Memorial Day was established in Britain in 2001. The date, January 27, was the day in 1945 when the Soviet Union's Red Army liberated Auschwitz, the most notorious of the nazi death camps, where more than a million people were murdered.
The memorial day also commemorates the victims of acts of genocide which have taken place since.
Every year it has a theme. This year's is "Communities together: Build a bridge." Events are planned across Britain and information is available from Holocaust Memorial Day Trust at www.hmd.org.uk
The Holocaust Survivors' Friendship Association is a Leeds-based charity. Its aim is to preserve the memory, testimony and records of Holocaust survivors based in Yorkshire for research, teaching and learning.
The group says of its mission: "We use the lessons from our members' experience to work towards a more tolerant society in which difference and diversity are celebrated."
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