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Joseph Rosenberg Family

Mari L. Paritz Kohnstamm honors Joseph Rosenberg, her great-grandfather, and his family, including his five sons. Mari does not know the specific circumstances surrounding their deaths during the Holocaust, but Joseph, who worked as a teacher, was able to send two sisters to the United States during the early 1900s, thus ensuring the survival of the family name. After the war, Minnie Rosenberg Klott, Mari’s great-aunt, attempted to located surviving family members without success. Mari writes, “The Holocaust was not spoken about to me and I feel remorse for not knowing to ask more questions about my family while my Grandmother and Aunt were alive.” Mari has been able to reconstruct some aspects of her family’s life through old letters (which have been translated and included in the JCC Holocaust Project file) and photographs. Many of the family members had resided in Siauliai, Lithuania, which was a thriving Jewish community before the Holocaust.

Chana Rivka and Shim’ke (Shimon) Rosenberg Shavel (Siauliai)

July 15, 1924

Translation:

Loving regards to our dear Aunt Munye from us, your nephew and niece, Chana Rivka and Shim’ke (Shimon) Rosenberg.

Shavel, (Siauliai) July 15, 1924.

Group Photo, Sent from a Friend, Meir

No Date

Inscription:

Meir, your brother (Meir Rosenberg)

My cousin

Mindel, my sister

My mother

Shloime (Shloime Rosenberg)

Eda, Shloime’s younger daughter

Meir, myself

Esther, my sister

Lola, Shloime’s older daughter

Letters from Hersh Chaim Rosenberg

December 1939

Translation:

Krakow, 12/2/1939

Dear Sister,

We received your loving letter and we thank you for the well-wishes on the occasion of the birth of our daughter. Thank G-d we have a beautiful daughter, full of Mazel. She’s named after Lola’s mother, Chai’tshe (Chaya), and in Polish her name is Helena, and that’s how we call her, since that’s her official (government, on her papers) name as well. She couldn’t be named after our departed mother since Lola has the same name (and you don’t name a child the same as a living parent or grandparent.) We have nothing to write about ourselves, the season started already and there was some work to. In the meantime a workers’ strike began. As you already know I work in a factory where there are many different groups that provide labor for the production of shoes, in all about 5000 laborers, and we’re organized in a union. The strike is now in its 3rd week, and we have no idea when it will end. Hopefully in the next letter I’ll be able to tell you the results of the strike. No more news, loving regards

Her and family

Translation:

Dear sister, Munye

I write to you separately a few words; I see that you moved to a new address, but unfortunately I could not read it clearly. If you wish me to write you at the new address please write it over again. I also have a new address: It’s Chaim Rosenberg, Krakow, Kollataja St. 6/2

Her and family

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Letter from Shlomo Rosenberg (in Yiddish)

1939

Translation:

Przemysl, July 12, 1939

Dear sister Munye.

I received your loving letter with the enclosed 5 dollars, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for it. Dear Munye, we Jews have a saying; “a good thought is counted like a good deed,” I say this in regards to that which you say that you wish you could send me one hundred dollars. I know you’re as honest as could be when you say that. Since you’re not a very rich woman it’s hard to even think about that kind of money, but for the thought alone you deserve a great Thank you because a “good thought is like a deed!”

Now, about Moshe Aron; you did a very clever thing by not sending him any money, because no money can be forwarded to him directly. I read in the newspaper that the unfortunate victims of Hitler are cheated and conned terribly. I don’t want to say that the woman who so interested you in Moshe Aron’s fate was also a cheater, but how can you send your hard-earned money to an unknown address?!

You see, dear Munye, when you’d be able to send it to him via HIAS or some other reputable Jewish organization then you’d be able to risk a few dollars. You first need to inquire from the organization if they can guarantee that the money you’re sending will reach his hands!

The same goes for a ship ticket for us. You could send a ship’s ticket only when you can be certain that a Government gives him entry permission; and as long as he hasn’t a visa from a foreign consul to be allowed entry he’ll be kept in an internment camp. (At his country of arrival)  I’ve tried everything possible to obtain an entry visa for him, but as you surely know the Government would rather expel 100,000 Jews than allow entry to one Jew…. Of course I accomplished nothing for him. In any case, whatever you will do, you need to get in touch with one of the Jewish support organizations, and under no circumstances should you send money to an unknown address nor buy ship’s tickets for him, until you know for sure that he’ll be allowed entry by some foreign Government. Unfortunately, in the meantime he’ll have to wait with thousands more like him, until he’ll have the opportunity to free himself from the Nazi grip!

Dear Munye, the school year for my children ended last week, and they finished with exceptionally good grades. The older one will either tomorrow or the next day travel to Krakow, Hirsh Chaim invited her to spend her vacation time there, and the younger one will possibly travel to Sonik for several days to father. As far as myself, If there will be cheap fares to Sonik then I’ll possibly travel to father for a Sabbath (weekend) because it’s difficult for father to leave his teaching job and come see me!

So dear sister, I have nothing special to write about, when I’ll have something good to share then I’ll make sure to write. Stay well, best and warmest regards, love and kisses from myself and my entire family. Also, extra special love and kisses to Freida and her dear husband and children.

Shlomo and Family

Letter from Yaakov Avrohom Rosenberg

1940

Translation:

Shavel, March 20, 1940

Dear Sister, Brother-in-law and children

Dear Mindel!

Only today did I receive your letter in English  - dated January 31st -, and I’m very happy to hear that you got my letters and postcards, but unfortunately, I received nothing from you. Imagine that today’s letter from me is a reply to your last year’s letter; but you’re definitely not to blame here, only the unruly times we live in are to blame.

In the letter you write that you have yet to hear from our dear father and brother, despite the fact that I’ve shared this with you several times. I hope that as of the time of this letter you do already have news about them, and I hope that a letter from you to me is on its way.

Last week I received 2 letters from Shloime and one letter from our dear father. I also received one from Hersh Chaim. He writes that from Mr. Parnosemom???? It’s been 2 weeks since there’s been any communication. From Meir, he writes, he gets a letter every 2nd week, and Meir writes that he has work, and he earns money, I hope that this is true!  From Shlomo I got a postcard that my hair (which I don’t have) stand on end. He writes that he avoided certain death, because there were 600 Jews killed in Pshemyshel over 2 days. I’d send you the card were I not afraid to. He writes that he works and earns enough to live on, and is generally happy.

I beg of you; please do as I ask of you, namely that you taker the time every week or two weeks to write me a letter or postcard, just as I do. I made the same arrangement with father and Shloime.

Maybe you heard something about Moshe Aron? Write me if you have work, and what’s news with Freida and Aunt Rochel.

Be well, regards and kisses, and best wishes for a Happy Passover.

Yaakov Avrohom and family

P.S. In the previous letter I attached a letter from father.

Red Cross Documents

Yaakov Avrohom Rosenberg and Family

Shavel, April 18, 1928

Translation:

Loving regards to our dear sister, sister-in-law and aunt.

From us, Yaakov Avrohom and Libe, Chana Rivka’le and Shim’ke Rosenberg.

Shavel, (Siauliai) April 18, 1928.

Shimon Rosenberg (perhaps)

1939

Translation:

Loving regards from far away to my dear aunt, uncle and male cousin and female cousins.

Siauliai, May 26, 1939

Torn Postcard from Yaakov Avrohom Rosenberg

1940

Partial Translation:

Siauliai, LSSR, October 19, 1940

To my dear sisters, brother-in-law and family,

Today I received a postcard from Hersh Chaim……..

Baligrad, where Meir lives, and that he ……..

Received it express from Krakow. …… That in Baligrad he will …..

like a….……

also got 2 postcards from Shloime……….

about our dear father, i.e. that father should be able to travel to me. I have yet to do anything in that realm because I’m waiting for father to file the request (exit request?)  from there and I want to know when it’s important to support (affidavit, I guess - HR)  the request. What’s news with you? Are you working? And what’s news with……  Be well, love and kisses from us to each and every one of you

Your brother, Yaakov Avrohom and family