Facing History and Ourselves Canada Honours Holocaust Survivor and Educator Nate Leipciger

Posted by Jasmine Wong on November 1, 2014

On October 26, Facing History and Ourselves Canada awarded Holocaust survivor, educator, and long-time board member Nate Leipciger with the inaugural Upstander Award in front of a room of 400 friends, family, and supporters.

Born in 1928 in Chorzow, Poland, Nate survived several concentration camps, including Auschwitz. He came to Canada in 1948 and went on to become a committed leader in Holocaust education. For over 40 years, Nate has shared his testimony with people of all ages, inspiring thousands to become upstanders with firsthand accounts of courage and survival in the face of horrific adversity.

Holocaust survivor and educator Nate Leipciger.  Photo credit Nick KozakHolocaust survivor and educator Nate Leipciger honored with Facing History and Ourselves Canada's inaugural Upstander Award. Photo credit Nick Kozak

Facing History board member and event co-chair Ron Hoffman opened the afternoon's program, which included moving testimonies of Nate's impact from Woburn Collegiate Institute teacher Ben Gross and students Ryan Venedam and Stephan Goslinski.


Woburn Collegiate Institute teacher Ben Gross describes how Nate's survivor testimony has challenged and changed his students. Photo credit: Nick Kozak

In their speech, Venedam and Goslinski thanked Nate and praised him for his inspiration saying, "This course, this man, and this project, have had deep impacts on our lives. Before long, we saw a change in ourselves—a change that is still working in us to this day, encouraging us to stop being bystanders and instead to be active upstanders in seeking out injustice and in changing the world."

Left to Right: Students Ryan Venedam and Stephan Goslinski speaking of Nate's inspiration in their lives.  Photo credit: Nick Kozak
Left to Right: Students Ryan Venedam and Stephan Goslinski share how Nate has inspired them. Photo credit: Nick Kozak

Following the student remarks, his wife Bernice Leipciger and his daughters Ronda Green, Arla Litwin, and Lisa Pinkus, all four of whom co-chaired the event, each gave touching speeches that praised Nate for his role as a husband, father and grandfather, and gave the audience at times humorous, at times inspiring glimpses into Nate's private life.

Nate's wife and event co-chair Bernice Leipciger. Photo credit: Nick Kozak


Left to right: Nate's daughters and event co-chairs Ronda Green, Arla Litwin, and Lisa Pinkus. Photo credit Nick Kozak


Facing History Toronto office director Leora Schaefer also praised Nate for his contributions to Facing History's local work before presenting him with his Upstander award. Following the award presentation, Nate himself spoke to a rapt audience about surviving the Holocaust, and the importance of Facing History's work.


Read more about the event in The Canadian Jewish News.

Explore resources featuring survivor testimony and register for our free upcoming webinar on using survivor testimony in your classroom.

Topics: Professional Development, Events, Facing History Resources, Facing History Together, Holocaust, Canada, Holocaust Education


This is where Canadian Facing History and Ourselves teachers and community members meet to share reflections, scholarship and teaching practices that will inspire, challenge and improve teaching and student learning. Our stories provide a window into diverse Facing History classrooms in Canada, and invite you into the discussion.

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