1997 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Representatives Stribling, Denny

House Resolution 54


WHEREAS, Mississippi's only Holocaust survivor, Gilbert Metz, was born in France to Sylvain and Helene Weill Metz and he had one sister, Eliane; and

WHEREAS, in occupied France, Jews were not allowed to work, they could only shop for two hours in the afternoon for food and necessities, all Jews had to wear a yellow star on their clothing at all times, they were not allowed to go to any concerts, movies or any public gathering, they could not meet in groups consisting of more than eight people, and they were not allowed to go to the synagogue; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Metz's entire family was arrested by the Germans in March 1943, was first sent to a holding camp, was then taken to Drancy near Paris where they joined other prisoners to be taken to Auschwitz; and

WHEREAS, toward the end of January 1945, when the Russian Army was getting closer to Auschwitz, the whole camp of 50,000 prisoners were marched to Gross Rosen Camp for seven days in the snow and cold without coats or warm clothing and shoes. Forty thousand Jews perished on this march; and

WHEREAS, when the fighting again came close to the camp, the prisoners were transported to Dachau where they were liberated by the American soldiers on April 29, 1945; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Metz came to live with his Aunt Blanche in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1946, where he finished high school in June 1948; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Metz enrolled in Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and completed two years of study before he was drafted into the Army to serve in Korea; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Metz was discharged from the Army in 1952, he started working for the N & W Overall Company in Jackson, Mississippi, and he met and married Louise Lawson in 1959; and

WHEREAS, Mr. and Mrs. Metz are the proud parents of three children, Sylvain, Lawson and Helene; and

WHEREAS, Mr. and Mrs. Metz started Metz Industries in 1978 and the company now has eight to ten sales representatives and it ships to Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Alaska; and

WHEREAS, during World War II, the Germans stole Jewish religious artifacts from synagogues, homes and temples throughout Europe, and these artifacts were found by English soldiers and were cleaned and repaired; and

WHEREAS, if a synagogue was still in existence, its stolen Torah was returned, but the synagogues that no longer had a congregation, their Torahs were allowed to be adopted by other synagogues; and

WHEREAS, the Beth Israel Congregation in Jackson, Mississippi, had arranged to get one of the repaired Torahs, and it was Mr. Metz's distinct honor in April 1993 to go with his younger son, Lawson, to London and bring back the Holocaust Torah; and

WHEREAS, it is the policy of the House of Representatives to commend the great citizens of the State of Mississippi who have shown phenomenal courage in the face of adversity and who have overcome that adversity to become honorable citizens who have touched so many peoples' lives and made Mississippi a better place in which to live:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby commend Gilbert Metz as Mississippi's only Holocaust survivor and wish him continued success and happiness in all of his future endeavors.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to Gilbert Metz and to members of the Capitol Press Corps.