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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 Metz

His Story:

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 community, temple, or school. Jews made up only 0.2 percent of the country’s population and were well-integrated into Danish society at the time. Steen participated in the Lutheran religion, which was Denmark’s official religion.

For Steen, the war began when he was almost 5 years old. It became intensely personal when he, at age 8, heard soldiers with guns knock on his family’s door. Steen, his parents, and his grandmother were then arrested, loaded into a crowded cattle car without food, water, light or a working toilet for three days, and sent to Theresienstadt Concentration Camp.

At Theresienstadt, all of Steen’s family jewelry and money – which soldiers encouraged them to bring – were confiscated. Steen was separated from his parents, and his parents from each other, forcing them each into different barracks. Steen was placed in a filthy barrack with 60 women and children. His father died around sixth months after their arrival, and his mother worked in a factory processing mica. She wrote to Denmark in code to request food and traded to get items she and her family required.

Steen, his mother, and grandmother, all survived their time in the concentration camp, which was 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. They were eventually reunited with their relatives who managed to escape persecution and imprisonment.

As an adult, Metz left Denmark for England and later moved to Canada before settling in the United States. He and his wife, Eileen, have two daughters and four grandchildren. He now frequently speaks to the public about his Holocaust experiences.

Learn More:

A DANISH BOY IN THERESIENSTADT: REFLECTIONS OF A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR, BY STEEN METZ Steen Metz... Never Forget (Website) Coffee With a Survivor Facebook Live Session Stories of Survival: Childhood lost (WTTW documentary) Chicago's Morning Answer episode USHMM Testimony

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