MONTREAL — Montrealer George Novak is likely the only living Holocaust survivor who, for almost a year, regularly polished the boots of the notorious Nazi Martin Bormann.
At 90, Novak, a retired businessman who lives in Laval, can still recall in detail what it was like to interact with and attend to the footwear of Bormann, a rabid anti-Semite and loyal member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. Bormann disappeared and was not heard from again after Hitler’s bunker was consumed by flames in the spring of 1945.
Novak even had access to the locker where Bormann kept his boots.
A native Czech who was forced to toil as a slave labourer for four years – two of them because it was discovered he had a Jewish grandfather (Novak was born Catholic) – Novak remembers Bormann clearly.
“It was like yesterday,” Novak said, taking the occasional drag on a cigarette. “I was laying flagstones, and he approached me and said, ‘I am Martin Bormann.