Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Eric Rosenow - August 5, 1982


Um, what do you remember about uh, how your parents felt about what was happening right before the war started?

You see at the beginning when Hitler came in power, we Jewish people who lived in the Großstadt, Großstadt means a big city like Berlin, you know. Berlin had a population of 4.5 million people, you know, it's not a little village, you know. Uh, at the beginning, the Jewish people didn't suffer that much. They start with small cities first, experiment over there. We had uh, more or less freedom in, in Germany, in, in Berlin, until about nineteen hundred thirty-six. Then it starts getting rough. How my parents felt--my parents felt unfortunately, unfortunately I must emphasize this, they thought uh, Hitler didn't mean the German Jews.


I'm sure you heard this uh, before uh, this was wrong from the German Jews. Of course uh, my father was fighting--was a soldier in the First War. He had the Iron Cross, you know. But we learned later Hitler meant all Jews, not only the Polish Jews and the uh, the Russian Jews. I remember one incident in 19...in nineteen hundred thirty-eight, I believe, you know the countries in Germany are very close to each other, they are Grenze, grenze means borders uh, uh, border lines where you just can cross from Belgium to Holland or from uh, or from uh, Sweden to another country to Switzerland you know. You don't have to--at that time we didn't have plane service or uh, it was, it was easier. Now I remember a lot of Jewish people got smuggled over the border to Holland and to Belgium before Hitler came into this countries too. And there was one truck--was on Christmas Eve on nineteen hundred thirty-eight uh, I was supposed to be on it. I decided to go with that truck to Belgium and my mother begged me not to go. She didn't let me go and this particular truck I think with thirty or forty Jewish uh, youngsters got caught and they sent them back to the concentration camps.

Hm, I wonder how she knew.

She had this intuition uh, "Don't go, don't go." She begged me not to go.

And your father?

Well same way, yes. My mother was the ruler in the house.

Tell me more about that. Tell me.

Well, my mother was the uh, she lived with me uh, uh, nine...nine...she got ninety-years-old, with me--she lived with me. She was uh, a real dictator, she was the head of the house, what she said goes. Not my father--my mother. I was uh, I was the baby in the house, you know. We uh, I had two other brothers, I'm the youngest one.

Mm-hm. Can you tell me more about them as well?

My other brother was a musician too, was a drummer and uh, my other drummer he uh, my other brother, the second one uh, he had a very, very hard time to make a living here in America, couldn't adjust himself. He left--he got married here and uh, he left for uh, San Diego. He arrived in San Diego and stayed there a few years and uh, passed away in San Diego. My other brother here had heart condition and uh, he died here in Detroit.

How recently?

Oh, I would say about 15 years ago. My father died in nineteen hundred fifty-six and my mother died in nineteen hundred seventy-four.

The rest of your, your extended family, they were all murdered?

Right, right uncles and, and, and uncle and aunts and cousins, yes. I have, I have uh, I had one cousin in uh, Great Neck in New York who uh, was in a concentration camp and they transferred him with a train to another concentration, and he jumped out from the train and uh, was hiding for one and a half year in the forest.

Do you know more about his story that you could also pass on?

Uh, not too much I was very in close contact with him but uh, I really don't know--he was hiding, uh, uh. You know something, you can not condemn all the goyims for this.

Oh, no.

You had goyims who were hiding Jews. They risking their--they was risking their own lives, too.



They were uh, I'm not--I know I'm not pronouncing this right but uh, in the Ordnungspolizei--I'm going to show you the word here.


This organization right here, some were very bad and some were very good.

Yes, Judenrat, yes.

And they did, they did...

Yes, yes some were uh, hidden by, by uh, uh, goyims and organizations, too, yes.

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