Steen was born in Odense, Denmark to Magna and Axel Metz. He was not brought up in the Jewish faith as Odense did not have a Jewish community, temple, or school. Instead he participated in the Lutheran religion which was Denmark’s official religion.
For Steen, the war began when he was almost 5 years old. It became intensely personal when Steen, at age 8, heard soldiers with guns knock on his family’s door. Steen and his parents were taken by boxcar to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp erroneously known as a “model” camp.
At Theresienstadt their jewelry and money- which the soldiers encouraged them to bring- were confiscated, and the camp separated Steen from his parents and his parents from each other forcing them into separate barracks. His father died around 6 months after their arrival. Steen’s clever mother, who worked in a factory processing mica, wrote to Denmark in code to request food and traded to get items she and her family required. She bravely confronted a Nazi officer about the death of her husband. Steen lived in a filthy barrack with 60 women and children.
The Red Cross liberated Steen and his mother from the camp on April 16, 1945. Steen remembers a warm welcome from his home country. They were eventually reunited with their relatives who managed to escape persecution and imprisonment.
After the war, Steen’s mother- at first hesitant- desired to share her Holocaust experiences. Steen did not communicate his story until later. Eventually he became passionate about sharing his life and now frequently speaks to the public.
For more information visit Steen Metz’s website steenmetzneverforget.com