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
Group Photo, Sent from a Friend, Meir, No Date
Letters from Hersh Chaim Rosenberg, December 1939
Letter from Shlomo Rosenberg (in Yiddish), 1939
Letter from Yaakov Avrohom Rosenberg, 1940
Shavel, March 20, 1940
Dear Sister, Brother-in-law and children
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
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
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
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 …..
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