Students Hear First-Hand Holocaust Survival Story Friday, May 20, 2016
In 1943, Steen Metz, who lived in Denmark, was arrested at eight years of age, along with his parents. He was deported to the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, where his father died of starvation within six months of their arrival. Fifteen thousand children passed through Theresienstadt, and Metz was one of fewer than 1,500 who survived.
The Holocaust survivor visited Lincoln-Way North on Friday, May 13 to discuss his experience with Lincoln-Way North and Lincoln-Way East History of WWI & WWII students. This week in class, after listening to Metz's experience and asking questions, students participated in class discussion to reflect on his experiences.
Referencing the collective guilt that some people experience due to their German heritage, many students were amazed at Metz's perspective. "He doesn't cast the blame on people who aren't responsible," said one student.
Social Science Teacher Kevin McCleish, responded, "In our culture, we want everything [including understanding] to happen fast. Over time, he's become open minded. He recognized that not all Germans were perpetrators and I think that's why he's at peace. I'm very happy for him because despite this experience, he's done very well in his life."
McCleish says he looks forward to having Metz return next year for another presentation. "Steen's dedication to Holocaust education is admirable. He has made it his personal mission to share his story with students and combat the historical distortions he encounters. Unfortunately, time ensures the era of witness is coming to a close, and my students have a genuine appreciation for the opportunity they have to hear his testimony."