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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:           ROSALYN GROSS HABER

INTERVIEWER:        JANE LEAVEY

LOCATION:              ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DATE:                      1995


BIOGRAPHY

Rosalyn Gross Haber was born in Palanok. She was the youngest child and had six brothers: Alex, Filip, Benjamin, Bernie, Bill, and Sam. Palanok was in Czechoslovakia, but in 1939 the area was transferred to Hungary. Then, in March 1944, the Germans took over the area. 
In April 1944, all of the Jews in the area were gathered into a temporary ghetto in the nearby town of Munkacs, on the site of a brick-making factory. Within weeks, trains deported all of the Jews in the Munkacs ghetto to Auschwitz-Birkenau. When they arrived, Rosalyn and her mother were separated from her father and brothers and sent to different parts of the camp. Two weeks later, Rosalyn was separated from her mother in a selection. Rosalyn never saw her mother again. In the fall of 1944, Rosalyn slipped out of a group selected for execution and joined a group of women selected for labor at an ammunition factory. In February 1945, she was sent to Bergen-Belsen, where horrific conditions left more dead than alive. The British liberated Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1945. 
After she had recovered from typhoid fever, Rosalyn began to make her way back to Palanok. When she passed through Prague, Czechoslovakia, she found her brother Ben. All seven siblings had survived and were soon reunited. Their parents had not survived, however, and Palanok no longer felt safe. Just before the Russians closed the border, Rosalyn and her brothers returned to Prague, where they all lived in one room. When they realized Prague was also going to fall under Soviet rule, the family separated again.
Rosalyn and Alex went to Scotland and then England. Sam also went to England before immigrating to Israel, where he fought in the 1948 War of Independence. Eventually, an uncle living in New York sponsored Rosalyn and her brothers’ immigration to the United States and the siblings were reunited. Rosalyn married in 1949 and settled in Atlanta, Georgia. She became an interior designer. 

Scope of Interview:
Rosalyn introduces her family and how their lives began to change when World War II began. She recalls three of her six brothers being sent to a labor camp while the rest of the family was sent to the Munkacs ghetto. Rosalyn describes their deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau, their separation, and losing her mother. She recounts being sent to Germany, first as a slave laborer at a munitions factory in Unterluss and then to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Rosalyn remembers her liberation by the British Army and how she reunited with her brothers. She shares her experiences escaping Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia for Scotland and England. Finally, she recounts immigrating to America.


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