András Toma

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András Toma (Újfehértó, Hungary, December 5, 1925 – Nyíregyháza, March 30, 2004) was a Hungarian soldier who was taken prisoner by the Red Army in 1945, then discovered living in a Russian psychiatric hospital in 2000. He was probably the last prisoner of war from the Second World War to be repatriated.[1]

As he knew no Russian and nobody at the hospital spoke Hungarian, he had apparently not had a single conversation in over 50 years, a situation of great interest in the fields of psychiatry and psycholinguistics.

Life[edit]

He lost his mother when he was four years old. He lived in Sulyánbokor near Nyíregyháza, when he was drafted in 1944. His regiment fought around Auschwitz and Kraków. Toma was captured on January 11, 1945 and was taken through Ukraine and Belarus to the camp of Boksitogorsk (Бокситогорск) near St. Petersburg. Due to an illness he was taken to the military hospital of another camp in Bistrjag (Быстряги) 1,000 km east of Boksitogorsk. In January 1947 he was transferred to a psychiatric hospital in Kotelnich (Котельнич). Since those who were in hospitals were deleted from the lists of prisoners of war, Toma was lost to Hungarian authorities. He was declared dead in 1954.[2]

He lived under the name András Tamás (Андраш Тамаш). A Czech linguist identified him as Hungarian, and on August 11, 2000 Toma arrived back to Hungary where his family was identified with the help of DNA investigation. Toma was promoted to sergeant major by the Minister of Defense, and since his service was continuous, his salary was paid. 74-year-old Toma moved in with his half-sister Anna who cared for him until his death.

References[edit]