L-W North Students Hear Holocaust Survivors Powerful Story
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lincoln-Way North students in Kevin McCleishs history class received a powerful account of history from World War II Holocaust survivor Steen Metz last week.

Metz, 80, shared with students his life story of being arrested and taken from his home in Denmark and placed in a Jewish concentration camp at the age of eight.

Our students are extremely moved to hear of the horrific tragedy Steen lived to tell about, said McCleish. Steens personal experiences make the Holocaust real for our students. It gives them a more impactful account of history and one that stays with them.

Metz is the author of the book, Danish Boy in Thersienstadt, Reflections of a Holocust Survivor. He is a volunteer with the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, where he shares his story of survival.

Metzs father died of starvation after six months in the camp where he and his mother spent 18 months. Metz survived as a messenger, carrying letters and documents from the Germans.

There was a human chain of children, passing cardboard boxes of ashes to get thrown in the river, Metz said. I didnt know it then, but the boy standing next to me hid the box with my fathers name on it so I wouldnt have to see it.

Several students took the opportunity to ask Metz questions following his presentation.

Why do you believe you were never sent to an extermination camp? one student asked.

I believe there had to be an agreement not to send children from Denmark since 90,000 out of 140,000 were chosen and I was not one of them, Metz said. I didnt know it at the time and I lived in daily fear.

Another student asked about his biggest take-away.

Im thankful that Im here, Metz said. Im more tolerant of others and I show respect to all human beings, treating others the way I want to be treated.