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Mr. Bill Glied was sent with his family to Auschwitz in 1944
February 22, 2017
Do One Good Thing Each Day
Sharing the past can be very hard for some Holocaust survivors, as our Grade 6 students learned from Mr. Bill Glied, a survivor who regularly visits schools to share his story.

Mr. Glied told students about growing up in the former Yugoslavia, and how he was deported with his family to Auschwitz in 1944, a concentration camp in Poland.

Sharing his story in a sensitive but matter-of-fact way, he told the girls how his mother and sister were taken away upon arrival at Auschwitz and that he later learned they had been killed. Mr. Glied and his father were placed in the same unit where they worked as slave labourers until 1945. He recounted that, sadly, his father died nine days before the camp was liberated.

Throughout his presentation, students thoughtfully listened to his story and were interested to see the items he brought in to show them. He passed around a beautiful incense holder that belonged to his parents, as well as a traditional wedding ring used by Jewish people in Italy many years ago.

Mr. Glied's message to students was simple: "Don't take our fantastic country for granted," he said. "Tell yourself, 'I will do good in this world.' Do one good thing every day. Imagine if 36 million people could do one good thing each day."

While his story shared the horrors of the Holocaust, Mr. Glied also shared a couple of moments of kindness and joy that he experienced during his time in Auschwitz. He spoke of being handed a jacket that was far too large for him, while his father was given a jacket much too small. He smiled as he remembered how they switched jackets with each other. Mr. Glied also spoke about how he would be forced to work for 12 hours a day, fueled only be a piece of bread and small bowl of soup. While working in the field, a German guard took a liking to him and would often deliberately drop pieces of his lunch on the ground for Mr. Glied to find and eat.

Junior School French teacher Erna Relle has her own personal connection to Mr. Glied, as he and his wife are close family friends with Ms Relle's mother and late father who were Holocaust survivors.

"My parents, despite being intelligent, loving, and strong individuals, always had a hard time opening up about the past," said Ms Relle. "They are survivors who found it incredibly hard to share their story. Mr. Glied is an important voice for those who cannot speak about the horrible crimes committed during those times and to remind us to never forget about the injustices and crimes committed."

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