Warsaw Ghetto (Poland), Poland
Mrs. Eugenia Rosen was an only child born to a wealthy family in Warsaw. She was three years old in 1939 and her earliest memory was in the Warsaw Ghetto. She is scared to think and remember what happened to her. Her parents taught her Polish prayers and not to admit she was a Jew.
Along with her tall, blond Aryan looking mother, Mrs. Rosen left the Warsaw Ghetto with a group of people. She was frightened by the German soldier and his dog. They crossed to the Aryan side. Her mother taught Mrs. Rosen her that new name was now Giga Jankowska and to call her mother “Aunt Sofia” (widow of a high ranking German general).
Her mother took her to a convent with other little girls. One day while in the convent, she heard the Gestapo, clicking of heels and voices. Her fear was indescribable and she ran to hide in the toilet. The Gestapo found one Jewish girl and told the nun that they’d return again for all the other Jewish children.
The nun told her mother to take her daughter out of the convent because the Gestapo was returning. Her mother took her to see her father who was also in hiding. Her parents said, “when the war will end, meet at 59 Stolova Street.”
Eventually Mrs. Rosen’s mother took her to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Umirski where she assumed the identity of their niece in Berlin. They had no children of their own and they were very nice to her. She was now close to eight years old.
As the war was ending the couple was returning to Germany. They couldn’t locate Mrs. Rosen’s mother and decided to leaver her with their sister. The sister was not nice to Mrs. Rosen. She had a a daughter about the same age as Mrs. Rosen and Mrs. Rosen was forced to clean the house, take care of the daughter and attend church.
One day, while bending down to sweep the floor, she saw her mother in the window coming. She started screaming, “Aunt Sofia is here.” Mrs. Rosen was very skinny and her mother was was afraid that she had tuberculosis. Her mother brought her oranges and chocolate to feed her at night in secrecy.
Later on, Mrs. Rosen left for Poland with her mother; her father found them. They all left Germany illegally and came to the United States. If Mrs. Umirski would have adopted her, her life would have taken a different turn and she would have been a lost Jew.
Mrs. Rosen married in the United States and is proud to have two daughters and four grandsons. The grandchildren go to a Jewish school and “they will continue to carry on the tradition and never to forget their heritage.”
Interviewer: Rene Lichtman