Survivor Profiles: Steen Metz
It's more important than ever that we remember the Holocaust took place ... Holocaust survivors are getting older, and in about ten years or so, we won't be able to talk about it anymore. We want to leave a legacy.
Steen was born in Odense, Denmark to Magna and Axel Metz. He was not brought up in the Jewish faith as Odense did not have a Jewish temple or school. Jews comprised only 0.2 percent of the country’s population and were well-integrated into Danish society at the time. Steen participated in Denmark’s official religion in school, which was Lutheran.
For Steen, the war began when he was almost five years old. It became intensely personal when he, at age eight, heard soldiers with guns knock on his family door. Steen and his parents were then arrested, loaded into a crowded cattle car later on, and were without food, water, light, or a working toilet for three days while being transported to the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp.
At Theresienstadt, all of Steen’s family’s jewelry and money, which the soldiers encouraged them to bring, were confiscated. His parents were separated from each other while Steen was placed in a filthy barrack with his mother and other women and children. His father died around six months after their arrival, and his mother worked in a factory processing mica. She wrote to Denmark friends in code to request food and traded to get items she and her family required.
Steen and his mother survived their time in Theresienstadt and were liberated by the Red Cross in April 1945. They returned to their hometown and resumed their lives with Metz even returning to his old school.
As an adult, Metz left Denmark for England and later moved to Canada before settling in the United States. Steen and his wife Eileen have two daughters and four grandchildren. He now frequently speaks to the public about his Holocaust experiences in an attempt to prevent the occurrence of future holocausts.