Flights of Spirit

Flights of Spirit


By Elly Gotz

Sixteen-year-old Elly Gotz hides with his family in an underground bunker in the Kovno ghetto in Lithuania, prepared to die rather than be found by the Nazis. After surviving three years in the ghetto, where thousands from his community have been murdered, Elly and his family refuse to be the Nazis’ next victims. But there is no escape from the ghetto’s liquidation in the summer of 1944, and Elly and his family eventually surrender, only to be separated when he and his father are taken to the notorious Dachau concentration camp. There, Elly’s skills as a locksmith and metal - learned in the ghetto trade school- literally save his life and that of his father’s. After the war, fleeing from Europe and their past, Elly fights to regain his lost youth and his years of missed education. His motivation and enterprising spirit give him the determination to succeed and to, ultimately, find strength in flight.

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About the Author

Elly Gotz was born on March 8, 1928, in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania. After the war, his family lived in the Geltendorf Displaced Persons camp for two years while trying to emigrate from Germany; in the spring of 1947, they were finally accepted to Norway as refugees, and later that year they were able to immigrate to Zimbabwe to join extended family member. Elly eventually moved to Johannesburg to continue his education, graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree. In South Africa, Elly created new businesses in entertainment and sound recording, and then worked in the leather and plastics industries. He married Esme Cohen in 1958 and they, along with their three children, immigrated to Toronto in 1964. In Toronto, Elly established a number of different businesses and achieved his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot, later moving on to glider flying. In 2017, at the age of eighty-nine, he fulfilled another aeronautical dream by going skydiving. Elly has educated thousands of students through his work at the Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, and 2018 will mark his third trip on the educational tour March of Remembrance and Hope. 

Product Information

  • Release: November 15, 2018

  • $14.95 Paperback

  • 176 Pages

  • 6 x 9

  • ISBN: 9781988065441

The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs

Since the end of World War II, over 30,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors have immigrated to Canada. Who they are, where they came from, what they experienced and how they built new lives for themselves and their families is an important part of our Canadian heritage. The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs is guided by the conviction that each survivor of the Holocaust has a remarkable story to tell, and that such stories play an important role in education about tolerance and diversity. Millions of individual stories are lost to us forever. By preserving the stories written by survivors and making them widely available to a broad audience, the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs series seeks to sustain the memory of all those who perished at the hands of hatred, abetted by indifference and apathy. The personal accounts of those who survived against all odds are as different as the people who wrote them, but all demonstrate the courage, strength, wit and luck that it took to prevail and survive in such terrible adversity. The memoirs are also moving tributes to people – strangers and friends – who risked their lives to help others, and who, through acts of kindness and decency in the darkest of moments, frequently helped the persecuted maintain faith in humanity and courage to endure. These accounts offer inspiration to all, as does the survivors’ desire to share their experiences so that new generations can learn from them. Recognizing that most survivor memoirs never find a publisher, the Azrieli Foundation established the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program to collect, archive and publish these distinctive records.