Local News

Holocaust survivor celebrates bar mitzvah at age 83

Posted April 20, 2011 8:15 p.m. EDT
Updated April 21, 2011 7:51 a.m. EDT

— The Jewish tradition of Passover began Monday evening. It's a time of remembering the deliverance from slavery.

The event holds special significance for Morris Glass, 83, of Raleigh, who endured slavery that denied him a rite of passage.

At age 13, Glass lived in a Jewish ghetto under Nazi control and was not allowed to have a bar mitzvah. He also was not allowed to have books of any kind.

Eventually, the Nazis deported Glass and his family from the ghetto and sent them to the Dachau and Auschwitz death camps. There, he was separated from his parents and two sisters.

“I wish I could have hugged my mother and my sisters when I waved to them in Auschwitz, but I never saw them again,” he said.

Glass survived the Holocaust and his dream of having a bar mitzvah ceremony never died. On Saturday, with all of his living family present, the 83-year-old had a bar mitzvah.

“Everything you do in life should be done right. I also learned never to lose faith, never give up,” he said.

Glass said he understands that Passover focuses on freedom to serve God, not freedom from responsibility. 

Glass believes his responsibility is to tell his story and the stories of the millions who were lost in the Holocaust. He has written a book and often speaks to civic groups and schools.

“You are the future of the greatest country in the world," he said. "It’s in your hands, and you must make sure this never happens again, not only to Jewish people, but any other people on earth."