Holocaust survivor shares memories

recounts details of life in Nazi-occupied Poland at St. Michael’s Anglican Church in Canmore Tuesday night (April 17).
By Dave Whitfield – CANMORE
Apr 18 2007

During the very darkest days of the Second World War, a Polish teenager found himself mere moments away from death at the hands of Nazi oppressors.

On April 7, 1942, a date understandably burned into Peter Silverman’s memory, he and his cousin were being marched to a gravel pit where they were to be executed, as had many of their friends and family before them.

A German policeman and three collaborators had captured the pair, who managed to keep hidden a pistol and sawed-off rifle until the fateful moment of escape came.

Having already escaped one massacre at the gravel pit, Silverman and his cousin weren’t willing to suffer the fate of those before them. Rather, they produced their weapons and killed the four men who intended to execute them.

Silverman appeared at St. Michael’s Anglican Church, Tuesday (April 17) for an ecumenical service honouring all victims of war violence, but in particular the six million Jews who died as victims of Nazi atrocities.

Members of several area Christian congregations gathered at St. Michael’s to share in an inter-denominational time of mourning and healing which was repeated around the world on April 15 – the Jewish Day of Remembrance, Yom HaShoah.

Silverman, born in 1928 and author of From Victims to Victors, shared his dark memories with those gathered.