Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rosalie Simon's Holocaust™ tale - Another jew took her place in gas chamber, at 12 yrs old just "ran away" from Auschwitz, "somehow" escaped

Dr. Mengele personally sentenced Rosalie, then 12 years old, to die.

Rosalie still has a vision of Mengele, and saw her mother sent to the gas chamber.

When Rosalie was set to go to the gas chamber, another jewish woman volunteered to take Rosalie's place.

But that wasn't good enough for Rosalie. A jewish camp worker told her to run. So she did. And it worked. She escaped!

Her mother and brother were holocausted at Auschwitz. But her four older sisters and father survived the Holocaust.

It vas a miracle!

Holocaust survivors and their friends and family dance during a Hanukkah-time luncheon Dec. 16 at Jewish Family Services of Atlantic County in Margate. The luncheons have been held monthly for about the past eight years.

Holocaust survivors gather monthly to avoid topic

Many go years without talking about experiences during World War II, peers, family members say

By MARTIN DeANGELIS, Staff Writer | Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2009

MARGATE - Six million murders don't really make for great light lunchtime talk.

So the few dozen people who usually come to the monthly lunches at Jewish Family Services of Atlantic County mostly do not talk about the one key thing they have in common: They all survived the Holocaust, the Nazi murders of those estimated 6 million Jews in World War II.

Bethanie Gorny, of Linwood, who helped start the "survivor socials" eight or so years ago, remembers asking the group if they would like to invite a poet who writes about the Holocaust to be the speaker at one of their lunches.

"They said, 'No - too sad. ... Too depressing,'" Gorny said at this month's lunch. "They want to be together, ... but they don't want to relive it."

So the December get-together was far from sad, featuring a long string of Hanukkah songs led by Bob Seltzer and his guitar. The Hanukkah party also featured some of the elderly survivors dancing their way around the JFS boardroom, linking arms and twirling in a circle that grew as more dancers joined in.

Some survivors never talked about what they went through for decades after they were liberated, their children say. They apparently tried to leave their pasts in the past and not tell friends or even family in their new country how close they had come to being added to the tragic count of one of history's worst crimes.

Jack Gorny, Bethanie's husband, says he knew little of what his parents went through in the war because they did not talk about it to him or his brother. Only after his wife started getting together regularly with his mother - by then, Eva, Jack's mother, was in her mid-80s - did he start hearing his mom's Holocaust story.

"I learned it through Bethanie, because she'd come back and tell me," Jack Gorny said.

Silent no more

Gail Rosenthal, director of the Holocaust Resource Center at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and one of the regulars at the monthly lunches, says Jack Gorny's story comes with many names in many versions.

"Even today, there are people who don't want (anybody) to know that they're survivors," Rosenthal said.

But many of the people at these lunches went public as Jews who lived through the Holocaust after a coalition from Rosenthal's center and the JFS put out a call about 10 years ago for survivors. The mission then was to keep the survivors up to date on the possibility of reparations payments for them. But during their search, the searchers learned that there were desperately poor people who had been through the concentration camps living right around Atlantic County.

That led to a fundraising campaign to help those needy survivors, which raised $125,000 on short notice. And that fund led, in part, to these lunches - although the guests generally pay for their own meals.

And even if the Holocaust is not the standard topic of talk at their get-togethers, all the guests of honor have stories burned into their memories of how they survived the Nazi extermination efforts - and painfully often, how their loved ones did not.

Rosalie Simon, of Margate, put down her turkey sandwich at the latest lunch to talk about Dr. Josef Mengele - the infamous "Angel of Death" to inmates of the equally infamous Auschwitz concentration camp - personally sentencing her to die.

"I was too young," said Simon, 78. "In his opinion, I was unable to work because I was just 12 years old."

Simon saw Mengele's face and acknowledged that "I still have a vision of him." She also saw her mother sent to the gas chamber. Rosalie was "hysterically shaken" and crying, and another woman - whose child also had been sentenced to die - volunteered to take Rosalie's place in the gas chamber. The woman apparently chose dying with her child over living without.

"I was let off. A Jewish girl (forced to work at the camp) ... told me to run," Simon said, and somehow, through luck, she met up with her four older sisters. They all managed to survive the war, and her father did also. But her mother "was killed that same day, along with my brother," Rosalie said. Her brother was just 13, apparently also considered too young to work.

Rosalie never was one of the secret survivors, the people who tried to hide their Holocaust experiences when they got to their adopted country. There were parts that were too painful for her to talk about, especially to her own children, but after she told her story to a documentary crew, the kids learned the details that way. Still, she knows it would have been pointless to try to suppress or ignore the memories.

"This is going to live with us forever," she said, before going calmly back to her sandwich. "We cannot leave it behind. We live with it every day."

Always a reunion

The lunch group acts as a monthly reunion for its members now, but the hosts say they have seen some of their guests shocked into tears when they ran into people they haven't seen for years. That can be 65 or even 70 years for those reunions - since the Nazis drove the people from their homes in eastern Europe, or since they were forced together after that in the death camps.

Joe Rosenberg, 80, moved to Margate last year, but he lived most of his life around Bridgeport, Conn., after being liberated from Auschwitz - he can still recite from memory the camp serial number tatooed on his arm. He knew some Holocaust survivors in Connecticut, he said, but he had never heard of them holding regular gatherings until he moved down here.

He can tell his story to the people he meets at the JFS lunches and know they will understand, or he can listen to their tales and know what they went through. But, he said, he likes the fact that for the most part, "These lunches are just to get together," not to go back over the worst days of their lives.

Cyla Kowenski, of Atlantic City, one of the unofficial leaders of the group, also is happy just to be able to talk to people who share her experience. But because that shared background ended so long ago, the crowd for these lunches is already old, and getting older every month.

"You know, it's getting to be less and less Holocaust survivors," said Kowenski, who still prefers speaking Yiddish over English when she has the chance. "And this lunch is getting less and less (guests). But they say that if there's just one survivor left, they'll still have the lunches."

But of course, nobody in the group looks forward to being that last person at the table. Because it's the chance to be among other survivors that is the main draw of the monthly meals - even if the people don't care to spend that much time in the present talking about the horrors they shared in their pasts.

Contact Martin DeAngelis:



Northerntruthseeker said...

I always wondered what it would be like to volunteer to go to a gas chamber?

And damn that Dr. Mengele.... Was able to do so much being a DENTIST!!!

Lone Wolf said...

I'm guessing that volunteer jew who was gassed is pretty pissed that Rosalie didn't just run away to begin with.

Greg Bacon said...

"They want to be together, ... but they don't want to relive it."

They don't want to hear a bunch of hot air and BS.

Damn, but those Nazis were sloppy, letting all sorts of people escape from those camps.

Mengele must of had a body double to be at so many places.

Lone Wolf said...

"Damn, but those Nazis were sloppy, letting all sorts of people escape from those camps."

Yeah...for supposedly being the most uber-efficient mass murderers of all times, they sure bumbled around like idiots failing to holocaust MILLIONS of jews, letting them just walk out of the camps, etc, etc

If the Germans had REALLY wanted to kill these people, don't you think they would have been able to do it?

These are Germans we're talking about. Not Rwandans, Cambodians, or even Chinese.

Yet the Germans -- paragons of entineering, war-making, and attention to detail -- were aparantly actually the worst mass murderers of all time -- letting MILLIONS of jews escape being holocausted like Rosalie here.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how many jews survived, its like every second jew alive today survived Auschwitz!

And that would be because so many jews did indeed survive, because no one tried to kill them, so that makes them liars, which they undoubtedbly are.

Lone Wolf said...

"Amazing how many jews survived, its like every second jew alive today survived Auschwitz!"

No kidding...almost every other Holocaust story is about someone "going to Auschwitz, personally greeted by Dr. Mengele...blah, blah, blah"

Cracker Americanus said...

I am amazed the Rawandans with machetes were so much more effective at genocide than the Germans. If the Germans had taken lessons from the Americans(Ohio Pow camps,innoculation of blankets given to American Indians,with small pox,British starvation of civilians following WWI,possibly they would have been able to dispose of 6 million people. The truth is bad enough, they did not have to embellish it so they could empty our pockets on a weekly basis.

Crush The Talmudic Zionist Serpent said...

Let me get this straight, the legendary and notorious 'Angel of Death' Dr Mengele from the infamous 'extermination' camp Auschwitz stated that a 12 year old was too young to work. Couldn't she have helped him stitch and sew some dwarfs or hunchbacks together?

They were made to work and get washed. Manual Labour and hygiene/cleanliness are two concepts that aren't compatible with the Jewish psyche!!!

It's amazing how many of these demonic creatures met the 'Angel of Death' and survived to tell the Fairy Tale.

Just run Roaslie the wolves and bears in the forest will look after you.

Lone Wolf said...

"Just run Roaslie the wolves and bears in the forest will look after you."