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Born: Jan 12, 1931

Date of Passing: Mar 08, 2018

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WALTER SALTZBERG Professional Engineer Born in Warsaw, Poland - January 12, 1931 Died in Winnipeg, Canada - March 8, 2018 Walter was a Holocaust survivor who lost both of his parents and an older brother because of the Nazi's goal to rid the world of the Jewish people. Walter, who last saw his family at 10 years of age, spoke very often at various schools and other venues, in the hope that his tragic war experiences would instill tolerance in people of various religious beliefs. While he basically accepted the premise "love thy fellow man", he strongly believed that it should start with a more realistic approach "let your fellow man live in peace". Walter has chronicled his war experiences and those who may be interested should speak to his son George. It was Walter's wish to acknowledge two individuals who at the peril of their own lives, saved his life during the war. Dr. Kazimierz Weckowski was a Christian doctor who smuggled Walter out of the Warsaw Ghetto when he was 10 years old and hid him in his home for two years. Dr. Weckowski was recognized posthumously as a Righteous Amongst Nations by Yad Vashem in Israel for his heroism. Peter Jablonski (Nachman Fryszberg) was a young Jewish man who saved Walter after a building they were hiding in was bombed. Peter dug Walter from the rubble and hid him in a hole underground that he built. Peter hid himself, Walter and three others there for a period of five months in that hiding space. Peter saved Walter's wounded leg by using urine as a disinfectant. He found a sack of rotten onions that became the main source of food, enabling them to survive until they were liberated in January 1945. Following years of surgeries and long hospital stays in both Poland and Sweden (to restore the use of his leg), Walter could walk again sporting a big shoe on his shorter leg. He would explain to curious children who wondered about his large shoe, "So to kick a soccer ball further". Walter came to Canada in late 1947, just short of 17 years of age, having completed only up to Grade 2 in French immersion in Warsaw. With a great deal of difficulty, years of missed education, learning a new language and financial problems, he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Manitoba, in 1957. He then began his 40 plus year career with the Manitoba Department of Highways and Transportation. Despite his one short leg and his difficult past, he rose to the position of Director of Bridges and Structures for the Province of Manitoba, retiring in September 1997. Walter's extra-curricular activities were numerous and included many volunteer positions with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of the Province of Manitoba, culminating in the position of its President. He was recognized with many awards both on the Provincial and National scene. He was Past-President of the Optimist Club of Assiniboia, Past-President of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society and Past Second Vice-President of the Canadian Schizophrenic Society. Upon retiring from the Department of Highways, Walter became International Liaison Officer with the ISIS Research Network and Associate Professor Engineer-In-Residence at the University of Manitoba. In July 2018, Walter was recognized for his lifetime of contributions in volunteering, as well as speaking about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. He received the "Sovereign Award for Volunteers" from the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency David Johnston. This award was presented to him by Her Honour Janice Filmon, the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, who graciously came to the hospital to present it to him. Walter would often say," My Profession has been good to me, Manitoba has been good to me, Canada has been good to me". He was a fiercely proud Canadian. Walter was forever grateful that Canada had given him a home and an opportunity to rebuild his life. He committed himself to give back to his adopted country. Walter was predeceased by his parents, Mauryce and Anna, and his brother Jercyk, who perished in the Holocaust, his wife Sheila Greenberg Smith and the mother of his children, Joan Carole Gordon. Walter leaves his loving children, George (Timothy), Jack and Anna; his nieces, Myrna, Patrisha and Penny, and their families, as well as cousins, friends, colleagues, Sheila's family (including stepson Grant (Rhonda) and their children, Jared and Shane, and his best friend Clara Block. The family is very grateful to Evangeline, Edna, Rishpa and Merlyn, who looked after him with such incredible love and compassion. They are also very grateful to the entire staff of the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre and especially to the team on Simkin 2 for the exceptional care he received. Funeral services will be held at the Etz Chaim Synagogue, 123 Matheson Avenue East on Sunday, March 11 at 1:30 p.m. with interment at the Rosh Pina Cemetery. Meal of Consolation will follow burial at Etz Chaim. Pallbearers will be Ron East, Dan East, Lior Avishay, Karen Vickar, Jonathan Fine and Zev Rumstein. Donations in Walter's name can be made to the Holocaust Education Centre Endowment Fund at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba or the Manitoba Schizophrenic Society.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 10, 2018

Condolences & Memories (9 entries)

  • God bless all loved ones of Walter Saltzberg. Indirectly working under Walter’s direction in the Province of Manitoba, Bridges and Structures, I, whenever I had an opportunity to see Walter, admired him for his wisdom, respect and kindness. He took nothing for granted. Michael Mackey - Posted by: MICHAEL MACKEY (Former employee ) on: Sep 20, 2022

  • Mr. Saltzberg was such a wonderful person! He exemplified what every person should strive to be. It was always a delight to meet him, he was always so positive and caring. My sincere condolences to his family. - Posted by: Dave McKnight (Son of a friend) on: Apr 15, 2018

  • My 15 year old son is doing an assignment on the holocaust .He was given a clipping of Mr.Saltzberg's obituary to read. It caught my eye and immediately a flood gate of memories opened. My father was also a professional engineer (Robert Mcknight) who worked with Walter and they became good friends. His wife at that time,Joan became friends with my mother. I became friends with Anna. They came out to our family cottage near Winnipeg Beach in the 70's.Anna spent time with me riding my horse at our family farm. Walter was a very kind man,and would tell many stories of his childhood. My mother passed away and then my father lost touch with many friends. He passed away in 2000 and still would speak often of Walter. It is sad how people don't keep in touch,life is too short. My condolences to George, Jack, and Anna. If you are able to contact me through email,Anna I would love to hear from you. Rest in peace Walter . I hope you and my father will find each other again. Susan. - Posted by: Susan Heglin. (Maiden name is Mcknight) (Old family friend) on: Apr 11, 2018

  • To the Saltzberg family, My sincere sympathy to you all. Growing up in Garden City and hanging out next door, I got to know your family. I reconnected with your dad at the Wellness Institute. He was a kind, funny and intelligent man. My deepest sympathy to you all. - Posted by: Lisa Monk (neighborhood acquaintances) on: Mar 12, 2018

  • Walter was one of my Dad's, Randy Price's best friends. They graduated in 1957 together from Civil Engineering at the University of Manitoba. They worked together for their entire careers for the MB Provincial Government, Dept. of Highway Bridge Department. Walter was a wonderful man who went through so many difficulties in his young life that is unimaginable to all of us. Despite many horrific challenges he faced, he put others before himself. Those who knew Walter could always count on Walter for anything, If you asked him to do something, consider it already done. I have many fond memories of Walter visiting our house when I was young. Dad always said when my parents went away when I was a teenager, if you need anything or are in trouble with something, call Walter! I always knew he was my first call. He would send my mom anonymous gag gifts at her nursing station every New Year's Eve, and it became a tradition. My dad considered Walter one of his very best friends. Walter always called my dad when he returned from his trips to Palm Springs and had many dinners with my mom and dad, Lesley and Randy at the Keg. I had a lovely dinner with my dad, sister and Walter at the Keg a couple of years ago as my mom was in the hospital at the time. Walter came over to see how dad was doing as my mom was so sick. Since I live in Florida and had not seen Walter in a long time. I will cherish that dinner. I have fond memories of seeing him again and pictures of Walter with my Dad that night at the Keg. I know his passing has greatly affected my father, as we just lost my mom. I tried to bring my Dad to see Walter last week but it was unfortunate we could not make it happen. Walter, know our Price family always loved you and thought so highly of you. My dad is unable to attend the service as I just left Winnipeg yesterday after the service for my mom. He is there in spirit and our sincere condolences to Anna, Jack and George. Walter you will be greatly missed and we know you are at peace. Much love Allyson and Randy - Posted by: Allyson Lomberk and Randy Price (Randy was a close friend and graduated in 1957 in Civil Engineering/worked with Walter at the Mb Bri) on: Mar 11, 2018

  • My sympathies on your dad George. His story is so impressive on how he survived a terrible time and went on to make a success of himself and his family. He will be missed. Renee - Posted by: Renee Bernstein (Friend) on: Mar 10, 2018

  • For the several years that I was director of the group home sponsored by the M F of S, Walter was Chairman of the Board and therefore my boss! Our mandate was to create a life skills program for adults with major mental illness. We had a wonderful group of caring staff and we set about our task with enthusiasm and diligence. Walter reinforced us completely in our endeavors and with this loyal and unbending assistance, we blossomed as a support for our clients and their families. Walter became a friend and mentor and we have a multitude of fond memories from the group home and later as neighbors in Gimli and snowbirds in Arizona. He was truly a "gentleman and a scholar". He honored my husband and I at his family table for his retirement dinner!! So to his family and all his wonderful friends our deepest condolences as the world has truly lost a great man!!! Carole Ezzard Forbister - Posted by: Carole Ezzard Forbister (Former employee and friend) on: Mar 10, 2018

  • Someone as special as Walter will never be forgotten. - Posted by: Jack Elliott (Friend and colleague from Optimist Club of Assinboia) on: Mar 10, 2018

  • My condolences dear George, Jack and Anna. I will remember Dad with fondness for his love for his children, his fortitude, and for his caring of others. - Posted by: Maxine Zabenskie (Cousin ) on: Mar 10, 2018

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