Holocaust survivor Philip Riteman continues to tell his story
Riteman one of the last remaining survivors in Atlantic Canada
One of the last living Holocaust survivors in Atlantic Canada continues to tell his story, and says he worries the horrors he experienced could happen again.
It took four decades for Auschwitz survivor Philip Riteman to begin speaking about what he went through after he was captured by the Nazis when he was 14 years old.
But he now shares his story.
"I maybe survived to come and tell you," he said Friday at an event at the Rotary Club of Moncton West and Riverview. "I wish many times I wouldn't survive, but I did survive. I must be alive for a purpose."
Riteman said much of the turmoil in the world worries him and he hopes that what happened during the Holocaust is never repeated.
"In my mind I'm there," he said. "I live with this. What I seen, there's no human being should ever see what I seen it."
Riteman, who was born in Poland, has personal identification number 98,706 tattooed on his arm. He doesn’t know his exact birth date, but believes he’s about 90 years old.
His family was exterminated in the Holocaust. Riteman survived by doing hard labour, but witnessed torture, murder, starvation and degradation.
Riteman left Europe following the Second World War and settled in Newfoundland.
He first spoke publicly about his experiences in 1989 in St. Stephen, N.B. He wanted to silence Holocaust deniers and since then has continued to give talks at schools, churches and community centres.