Tuesday, April 13, 2021
When Salomon Smeer was a child in Holland, his mother gave him away to strangers in order to hide him from German invaders who were intent on arresting and deporting all Jews.
Smeer never saw his mother again. She would die in a concentration camp in Auschwitz. He would spend three years living in secret, passed around a clandestine network of households in the Dutch resistance.
"I was told my name would change. But I knew I was Jewish," said Smeer, now an 83-year-old Windsor resident.
"I never had contact with other children. I was sleeping in tunnels, under the floor, and in attics. I was very lonesome, cold, and hungry."
After the Second World War ended, Smeer was raised in a Jewish orphanage.
It's been almost 76 years since the Nazis were defeated, but Smeer isn't shocked that their symbols continue to show up in Canada — his home since 2002.
"It is nothing unusual," Smeer said. "Those anti-Semitic feelings have been around for thousands of years. Why would we think it would be different today?"
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