On April 30, 1945, Saul Stein wrote this letter to his family in Montreal. He was ‘’somewhere in Germany’’ as a Canadian soldier. In his letter, Saul describes his first impressions of Bergen-Belsen camp, recently liberated by the Allies.

Saul Stein: A Jewish Soldier in the Canadian Army

On April 30, 1945, Saul Stein wrote this letter to his family in Montreal.
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On April 30, 1945, Saul Stein wrote this letter to his family in Montreal.

In his letter, Saul describes his first impressions of Bergen-Belsen camp, recently liberated by the Allies.
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In his letter, Saul describes his first impressions of Bergen-Belsen camp, recently liberated by the Allies.

Saul Stein photographed in uniform in Brussels with a man on a tricycle in 1945.
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Saul Stein photographed in uniform in Brussels with a man on a tricycle in 1945.

Photograph of a mass grave in Bergen-Belsen containing approximately 5,000 corpses.
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Photograph of a mass grave in Bergen-Belsen containing approximately 5,000 corpses.

Saul Stein, second row, 5th from right, and his colleagues of the Canadian Royal Air Force in 1945.
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Saul Stein, second row, 5th from right, and his colleagues of the Canadian Royal Air Force in 1945.

The Discovery of Nazi Concentration Camps

‘’I have never yet seen so many people in all my life in one camp. There were dead bodies sprawled outside wherever we walked. Those who are living look practically dead and everyone is starving from hunger.’’ Saul’s letter conveys a sense of urgency to help the prisoners still dying of hunger and sickness.

After what I have seen and experienced yesterday has left me completely heartbroken. It is something that will forever remain in my mind.
Saul Stein

Born in Montreal to Yugoslavian Jewish parents, Saul joined the Canadian Army in 1938. He was sent to Europe and was one of the first Canadian Jews to discover the horror of Nazi concentration camps during liberation.

Saul Stein donated this letter to the Montreal Holocaust Museum in 2000.

This project is part of the implementation of the Plan culturel numérique du Québec.Objects of Interest of the Holocaust, Plan culturel numérique du Québec

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17 Letters: For the Last Time and Forever

Find Saul Stein’s complete letter in this pedagogical tool.

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