There wasn’t a dry eye in the Cote Saint-Luc Council Chamber last week as Sidney Zoltak launched his new book: A Silent Pledge, A Journey of Struggle, Survival and Remembrance to a capacity crowd of over 200 supporters.

Born in Poland, Sidney Zoltak was eight at the outbreak of WW II but survived with his family intact. Following two years in Italy as a refugee, Sidney and his mother came to Montreal where he finished school and began to exercise his natural inclination as an entrepreneur, becoming an insurance agent in 1965. Sidney is an active member of the community, affiliated for years with the Yiddish Theatre and the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, and is dedicated to educating youth about the Holocaust.

Sidney Zoltak reads a passage from his new book, My Silent Pledge

Sidney Zoltak reads a passage from his new book, My Silent Pledge

A longtime Cote Saint-Luc resident, Sidney Zoltak is well known as having co-chaired the annual Montreal Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration, also held in Cote Saint-Luc. Zoltak has lectured to school children and adult audiences for many years about his personal experiences surviving the Holocaust and has travelled on the March of the Living.

A child survivor, a child of survivors and a grandchild of a survivor, Sidney Zoltak is all these things. His story about a family that struggled and endured, the generosity of those who saved them against all odds, and a vow never to forget is a remarkable journey through the Holocaust into a rich and full life. At eight, Sidney loses a middle class home and goes from the slow death of the ghetto into the terror of hiding in forests, barns and finally, a hole in the ground provided by a Polish family farm. But when war ends, there is no going back. The Zoltak family makes their way to Italy where young Sidney encounters a generosity of spirit that helps to heal war’s wounds and prepares him for life in Canada. Sidney Zoltak’s chronicle is a lesson in the importance of honouring your story for the generations to come. (Source: Guernica Editions).

A capacity audience at Sidney Zoltak's book launch on Nov. 21

A capacity audience at Sidney Zoltak’s book launch on Nov. 21

When Sidney Zoltak’s son Larry called me about a venue to hold this book launch I immediately suggested that the CSL Public Library was where this event take place. It soon became evident that great interest in this event meant that the library itself was not even big enough and hence the launch took place in the Council Chamber. Even so, interested friends, residents and enthusiasts overflowed out into the hallway.

Congratulations to the Zoltak family and bravo to Sidney. This book will be sought after in our library, at book stores and online. It will serve as an important learning source for generations.

Holocaust memoir book launch attracts huge audience (The Suburban)