Hide and Seek: In Pursuit of Justice

When Ben’s parents pick him up from kindergarten one day in 1942, he doesn’t yet know that it is the last time he will see them. The Nazis have invaded his hometown of Brussels, Belgium, and Ben’s parents, sensing the danger that awaits them, send their only child to the countryside to live with a non-Jewish couple who are active in the Belgian resistance. There, in the village of Baudour, Ben learns to be a good Catholic boy amid the explosions of war and the frightening presence of German soldiers. After the war, Ben, now an orphan, finds a home in Ottawa, Canada, with his extended family. As he grows into adulthood, Ben reclaims his Jewish identity and begins a lifelong journey toward personal and societal healing. In Hide and Seek: In Pursuit of Justice, Ben Carniol, social work educator, activist and author, describes a childhood filled with loss and violence and his response to it: a deep commitment to creating a safe and just society for all.

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At a Glance
Hiding and passing/false identity
Arrived in Canada in 1947
Life in Canada
Accessible ebook

240 pages, including index

Recommended Ages

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Photo of Ben Carniol

About the author

Ben Carniol was born in Teplitz-Schönau (Teplice-Šanov), Czechoslovakia (now Teplice, Czech Republic), in 1937 and moved with his parents to Brussels, Belgium, in 1939. He immigrated to Canada as an orphan in 1947 and was adopted by his mother’s family in Ottawa. Ben became a social worker and worked in the fields of social advocacy, social services and social work education in Cleveland, Montreal, Calgary and Toronto. He authored the seminal book Case Critical: Social Services and Social Justice in Canada. Ben is professor emeritus at Toronto Metropolitan University, was scholar-in-residence at Laurier University’s Indigenous Field of Study social work program and was awarded an honorary life membership for distinguished contributions to social work education in Canada by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education. He and his wife, Rhona, live in Toronto.

The explosions scared me. I knew I could be hurt or killed. I was safer if I did and said nothing. So I became as invisible as a quiet little mouse hiding in the garden.

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