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Holocaust survivor Peter Metzelaar to speak at WWU

Peter Metzelaar at age seven in Amsterdam in 1941

Peter Metzelaar at age seven in Amsterdam in 1941

Peter’s mother, Elli

Peter’s mother, Elli

Klaus and Roefina Post who hid Peter and his mother in Holland

Klaus and Roefina Post who hid Peter and his mother in Holland

Peter Metzelaar sharing his story

Peter Metzelaar sharing his story

Holocaust survivor Peter Metzelaar will speak at Walla Walla University on Wednesday, April 10, at noon in WWU’s Village Hall, 207 S. College Ave., College Place, Wash.

Metzelaar is one of 25 speakers with the Holocaust Center for Humanity Speakers Bureau. The bureau includes Holocaust survivors, liberators, and descendants of survivors who share their stories with students and community members throughout the Pacific Northwest. The speakers bring stories of the Holocaust to life and encourage audiences to connect lessons of the past with contemporary issues, such as hate crimes, bullying, and genocide.

Metzelaar was born in Amsterdam in 1935. During World War II, when he was 7 years old, the Nazis seized his family except for Peter and his mother. The Dutch Underground connected the Metzelaars with Klaas and Roefina Post who, at the risk of their own lives, agreed to hide the Metzelaars on their small farm in Northern Holland. For two years the Metzelaars lived with the Posts until the location became too dangerous and they found another hiding place in The Hague.

After the war, Metzelaar and his mother immigrated to the United States. They initially went to New York and eventually moved to Southern California. Metzelaar and his wife moved to Seattle in 1997.

“I truly believed that my mother and I belonged to the fortunate ones who survived World War II because of the goodness of Klaas and Roefina Post. I will forever be in debt to them for what they did for my mother and me. They saved our lives,” said Metzelaar.

Metzelaar’s visit to Walla Walla University is sponsored by the WWU Department of Human Resources and the WWU Staff Council. His presentation is free and open to the public.

Posted March 28, 2019

Last update on October 1, 2018