After surviving the worst horrors of the Holocaust, Philip Riteman left his native Poland and moved to Newfoundland.
He worked as a salesman for 40 years and never spoke a word about the atrocities he witnessed, including the deaths of his entire family in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Twenty years ago he accepted a friend’s request that he speak at a school about his experience.
Riteman has since spoken to thousands and thousands of people across Canada and the U.S., including at Clayton Park junior high last year.
The Halifax west resident is releasing a memoir in October.
Riteman says he wants Millions of Souls to further the educational work he has done in telling people that evil can destroy lives anytime good people do nothing.
“I didn’t really want to write a book,” he says.
“My generation is almost gone. It’s my obligation to tell the young generation evil could come again to them, to their children, to their grandchildren. Evil is always around.”
He told his life story to Mireille Baulu-MacWillie, a retired Montreal professor, over six months.
Riteman says meeting twice a week for three hours was exhausting and difficult, but he’s satisfied with the final result.
“I feel relieved. People should know what happened,” he says. “You can’t even imagine how bad it was.”