This section features the true experiences of Holocaust Survivors we see and visit today. This is to fulfill their requests,
“Remember us! Tell others of our experiences so we are not forgotten!”
~ Roza ~
Roza was eight years old when the war began. Her sister was 15, her brother 8 and they were with their mother, Nina. They were living in the Ghetto in Padost in western Ukraine.
At 4am the Germans raided their town. When they came to their house they were given no time to take anything with them. Her mother hid her brother under the bed – everyone else was ordered out. The family was taken out to the woods where pits were already dug. A troop of Germans was waiting to execute them.
Before they began they read off a list of occupations that they were looking for skilled workers. Her mother was a tailor, one of the skills requested. She and her family were returned to the ghetto. No one else fit the descriptions asked for so the remainder of the Jews were shot and killed.
They were transferred to a second ghetto and lived there for several months. Her mother was
doing tailor work for the German soldiers. At one point they were being transferred somewhere else. As
they were walking a woman along the road grabbed Roza and her sister and pushed them into a ditch
beside the road, telling them to wait until they were all out of sight. The German guards did not see her do this. They hid in the ditch until she came back for them later. They never saw their mother or brother again.
They went to live with the woman, Maria, until the end of the war. Their father had been in the Red Army
and did not know where anyone was.
While living with Maria, they changed Roza’s name to Flossie. People in the area began talking and put
pressure on Maria to get rid of the girls. Her husband also pressured her to get rid of them. Maria bribed
the police, but people were constantly on her to get rid of her. Her sister did not look as Jewish as her, so
they let her stay. But in the winter, Maria told her she had to leave. She gave her a lot of clothes and sent her into the woods and maybe she would find the underground. She was to leave after Maria and her husband fell asleep. But Roza did not go that night. The next morning Maria saw she was still there and told her she had to go that night. Maria fell asleep and Roza again did not leave. This was repeated for several days. Finally Maria said she did not think God wanted her to leave and she could stay. She
continued to bribe the police. At one point she sent her to live in another village for several months,
and then she returned to Maria’s.
When the war was over she found her father – he had moved to another town from their home. Her father wanted both girls to come back with him, but both girls stayed with Maria for another year. Eventually Roza moved back with her father, but her sister refused and would not leave.
Roza moved later to the village where she was born. She has never seen her sister since then. Her father tried to find her as well. Roza used school pictures of her brother to try to locate him, is still trying, but has never found him or her mother.
Roza married but stayed in touch with Maria and went back to the Ukraine to visit her daughter who was 10 yrs old when she stayed with them. Maria died in 1962. Since she hid them during the war, Roza has tried to get the government to recognize what Maria did and put her name on the list of those who hid Jews during the war but she has been unsuccessful.
Roza is very lonely after her close friend Rela (Survivor) was taken away by the family and she never saw her again. After her husband Michael died she became even more sad. Now Roza is almost blind but she still lives on her own. She is a strong and resilient woman.