By MYRON LOVE, Prairies Correspondent
Thursday, 11 October 2007

WINNIPEG — Walter Saltzberg says Canada has been very good to him.

“Canada gave me the freedom to pursue a career and raise a family,” he says.

For many years, Saltzberg, an engineer, was provincial director of Bridges and Structures. Now, in semi-retirement, he teaches a class at the University of Manitoba in the engineering department.

Sixty years ago, it was a different story for Saltzberg. In 1947, the Warsaw-born 17-year-old arrived in Winnipeg alone, having lost all of his immediate family in the Holocaust. He himself spent almost three years in hiding, including five months in an underground bunker.

Saltzberg was part of a group of about 135 orphaned teens who, having lost their families in the Holocaust, were brought to Winnipeg, beginning in 1947. While the government of William Lyon Mackenzie King closed the doors to Jewish refugees trying to escape the Holocaust during the war, Canadian Jewish groups and the United Nations Rehabilitation and Relief Administration successfully lobbied to persuade the government to allow more than 1,000 Jewish orphans into Canada after the war