Suitable for: Middle School through High School (7-12)
This year's speakers will be Survivor Peter Metzelaar and Dr. Steven Wees.
The schedule is as follows:
Holocaust Survivor Peter Metzelaar: 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Second-Generation Holocaust Survivor Dr. Steven Wees: 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
For those video conferencing, this year, we will be casting through Wahoo Public School's YouTube Channel rather than Zoom. I will be sending a link as the event gets closer.
"My mother and I slept together in a bed that was inside a closet. I remember lying in that bed trembling in fear at times."– Peter Metzelaar
Peter was born in Amsterdam in 1935. In 1942, when Peter was 7, the Nazis seized Peter's entire family except for Peter and his mother. Peter's mother contacted the Dutch Underground for help. The Underground found Klaas and Roefina Post who agreed to shelter Peter and his mother on their small farm in northern Holland, putting their own lives at risk. For two years they lived with the Posts, until it became too dangerous and they found another hiding place with two women in The Hague. Peter, his mother, and his aunt were the only survivors of his family. Klaas and Roefina Post have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.
After the war, Peter and his mother immigrated to the United States in 1949, arriving in New York. Peter was 13 and didn't speak any English, but was placed in the 8th grade. Peter had a long career as a radiology technologist. He and his wife raised two children in California and moved to Seattle in 1997. Peter continues to be an active member of the Holocaust Center for Humanity's Speakers Bureau.
"Every day, we saw transports of people going in and not coming out -- older people, people with children, and all you could see was smoke and fire afterward, and the smell was just horrible." --Elizabeth Wees (mother of Dr. Steven Wees)
Elizabeth Bodek Wees was born in 1924 in Svalava, Czechoslovakia. She grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family. When the Nazis invaded, she was 14 years old. Elizabeth spent time in the Mukacevo Ghetto, as well as several concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Ravensbruck. She survived multiple Death Marches, and was eventually liberated by the Soviet Army.
Elizabeth passed away in 2016 at the age of 91. Her son, Dr. Steven Wees, has researched his mother’s Holocaust journey, and now shares her story with schools and other groups.