Willy Glatzer was born in 1927 in Horodenka, at that time in Poland, now in Ukraine. His father Aharon was a baker and the family lived in an apartment above the bakery. Willy helped his father at his work; his main duty being to deliver bread to shops early in the morning. Willy studied in a Polish-language school, where many of the students were Jewish. In September 1939, after the Ribbentrop-Molotov agreement, the Soviets annexed Eastern Galicia, including Horodenka, and the bakery was nationalized.
With the beginning of the German-Soviet war in June 1941, Horodenka was occupied first by the Hungarian army, then by the Germans. A ghetto was established in the town and the Glatzer family was incarcerated in it. Willy's mother, grandmother and two sisters were killed during the Nazi murder operation of December 1941. Willy and his father Aharon were spared as "useful Jews" and continued to work in the bakery. Thus, they also survived also the second murder operation in April 1942, but were transferred to the nearby Kolomyja ghetto. In October 1942, Willy escaped from this ghetto. For some time he was hidden by a friendly Ukrainian, but on Christmas 1942 Willie and Aharon were forced to leave the house and hid in a drain underneath the local railway that was concealed from passersby by the snow. With the melting of the snow in March 1943, father and son found refuge in a cave in a forest several kilometers from Kolomyja. The cave sheltered a dozen local Jews, including the Glatzers. They lived in this cave until April 1944, when the area was re-taken by the Soviets.
With the entry of the Soviet forces into Kolomyja, the 17-year-old Willy joined the Red Army. After the murder of members of his family, he wanted to take revenge on the Germans. Glatzer was sent to a training camp in Kazan, east of Moscow and, after three months of training, was assigned to the 3rd Belorussian Front. He fought in Lithuania and eastern Prussia. After VE-Day, instead of being demobilized, Willy was sent to Mongolia to fight against the Japanese.
After his release from the army, as a former Polish citizen, Willy repatriated to Poland, where his father had settled. In 1948, both of them moved to Australia, where they lived in Perth. Bill Glatzer was an active member of Perth's Orthodox Jewish community. He died in 2006.