Rudy Rosenberg, a Holocaust survivor, was at Mamaroneck High School on Monday, May 11 to tell a group of students about his experiences. Among the students was Avagail Meek, a ninth grader.
“It was the first time I heard about the Holocaust,” said Avagail, who came to this country from Jamaica in December of 2007. “It was painful to hear.”
She described what Mr. Rosenberg told the class:
At the beginning stages of the Holocaust, Mr. Rosenberg, then a young boy, had cosmetic ear surgery to make him look less Jewish. Then at the warning of an SS officer who had befriended his mother about impending roundups in Belgium, his home country, Mr. Rosenberg, then 12, hid with his sister and parents.
For the next 27 months they moved from basement to basement with plans of escaping to Sweden. With little to do, he slept about 12 hours a day, usually from midnight to noon.
During one instance, Mr. Rosenberg and his mother hid for hours in a bathroom, expecting the Nazi soldiers who had entered the apartment they were hiding in to discover them. Fortunately for them, the Germans were only interested in drilling holes for a gun battle with Allied soldiers and seeking a phone for communications with Berlin. As a result, they did not search the place.
In the end, the family never escaped to Sweden and wound up riding out the war in hiding in Belgium. The four were fortunate to escape imprisonment in a concentration camp. The horrors ended in September 1945 when the allies defeated Germany.
Afterwards, the entire family immigrated to the United States. Out of 80 family members, only 8 including Mr. Rosenberg, his parents, and sister, survived.
The students got to ask Mr. Rosenberg questions.
Avagail asked him if he ever thought about committing suicide while he was in hiding.
“He said that never crossed his mind,” she reported. ” He always thought that one day he would be freed.”