Carry the Torch/A Lasting Legacy

The turmoil of war and persecution pulls both Sam and Johnny to the Plaszow forced labour camp in Poland. In 1943, Johnny and Sam, only teenagers, quickly learn of the brutality of the new camp commandant, Amon Göth. By sheer luck, Sam becomes the commandant’s houseboy, a privileged, yet risky, position, and Johnny gets a job in the carpentry workshop, “useful” yet still living in constant fear. The young men both feel like they are walking a tightrope, where one wrong move can make them the target of Göth’s unpredictable volatility. Ultimately deported and on different trajectories, their experiences in Plaszow become an ever-present reminder that their fates can change in an instant. Carry the Torch and A Lasting Legacy are the different yet parallel stories of two men who, as the sole survivors of their immediate families, must find their own way after the war and decide whether to keep their histories in the past.

At a Glance
Sam Weisberg:
Poland
Plaszow forced labour camp; concentration camps
Death march
Postwar Germany, displaced persons camp
Arrived in Canada in 1959
Johnny Jablon:
Poland
Plaszow forced labour camp
Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp
Death march
Postwar Austria, displaced persons camp
War Orphans Project
Arrived in Canada in 1948
Educational materials available: Johnny Jablon Activity

256 pages

Recommended Ages
16+
Language
English

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Photo of Sam Weisberg

About the author

Sam Weisberg (né Avraham Gajer) was born in Chorzów, Poland, in 1927. After liberation, Sam lived in the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons (DP) camp, where he met his wife, Rosa. They immigrated to Toronto in 1959. Sam Weisberg passed away in 2019.

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Photo of Johnny Jablon

About the author

Johnny (Ephroim) Jablon (né Jan Rothbaum) was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1926. After the war, Johnny lived in the Bindermichl DP camp in Austria. In 1948, as a war orphan, he immigrated to Montreal, where he still lives.

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Commandant Göth singled out a man from the line and shot him for no apparent reason at all. Göth then turned to the next person and asked, “Why are you staring at me so stupidly?” And he shot him as well.