Rose Winogron

"Young people should pay attention.  They should listen and see what’s going on in the world, in case there is more anti-Semitism.  My hope for the future is for peace and health in the world."

Name at birth
Ruzia Juszkiewicz
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Sosnowiec, Poland
Name of father, occupation
Herschel Juszkiewicz, Businessman. He sold anything to make a living. My father was a very good man; we were a very loving family.
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Rivka Neiman, Homemaker. We were a very close family, Friday night was a big dinner, and when my mother cooked the whole house smelled like good food. She was a good cook.
Immediate family (names, birth order)
My sister, Devorah Juszkiewicz, eight years younger than me. My daughter Debbie is named after my sister.
How many in entire extended family?
Maybe thirty people in the entire extended family.
Who survived the Holocaust?
Only one cousin that lived in Israel and me.
When I was a little girl, I started school when I was 5 or 6 years old.  My life was good.  Then the school moved closer to the city and I went to a public school.  
I didn’t like it there because I was called anti-Semitic names.  They said, “You are Jewish, go to Palestine.”  
In the fourth grade, I took a streetcar to a Jewish school in the city.  Then I was happy, I made friends, and I loved the school. 
In 1935, 1936, the times were not so good for us.  Then the war broke out.  The Germans invaded and then it became very bad for us.
There was very little to eat.  My mother sold everything from our house to put food onto the table, to feed my sister and me.  Then we moved to a special place only for the Jewish people.  I was there until 1942.  You can call it a ghetto, but they took most of the people to the main ghetto in 1943.  
In 1942, I had to go to a work camp called Gelenau.  I had to come to a special place where they took all of the young people.  They put us on a train and shipped us to Germany.  The factory I was in made cloth and I operated the machines. 
When the treads broke, I had to fix them so that the machines could still run.  It was a labor camp, hard work, but it wasn’t as bad as the concentration camp.  This was only a work camp.  I was there alone for about a year.  Then they took all of the girls to Langenbielau concentration camp. 
There were 200 women and we all did the same work.  We were watched by a German all the time, from 6 in the morning until 7 at night.  In the mornings, we had roll call to see if everybody was there.  There was very little food, only a small piece of bread.  They gave us some soup that was full of sand because the potatoes were not peeled.  
They took everything away from us.  We marched in wooden shoes. The first thing I did when I got out of the factory was look for water to wash myself.  Things were very bad; we were hungry all of the time. 
The Germans were very bad to us.  They would go around with a whip and beat us for not working hard enough.  It was horrible.  I was beaten a couple of times.  We had a small piece of bread, very small, and people would steal it if you didn’t finish all of your food right away.  When I came back from work, I had the soup with the sandy potatoes.  I don’t even remember what they gave us to drink. 
It was a miracle that I kept going.  We were waiting for the war to end so that we could be with our families.  That is what kept us going.  I had a top bunk and I kept saying, “If the war will be over and I’m still alive, they’ll put me into a museum for surviving.” 
I wasn’t sure that I would survive.  I wanted to be able to tell my story, what I went through. That’s what kept me going.   I never gave up.
Name of Ghetto(s)
What DP Camp were you after the war?
Yes, Salzheim in Frankfort, Germany
Where did you go after being liberated?
We waited, hoping to G-d that someone would be left alive. I stayed with two other girls, one of whom had a boyfriend who came and took us on a transport train back to Poland. I came to Poland and panicked because there was nothing there and nothing to do. I didn’t know where to spend the night. I found a room, where Jewish people were. They gave me a place not far from there to stay. There was a room where a few girls stayed. So I remained there and they gave us ration cards and papers to buy marmalade and bread. From the marmalade, I made juice. That was the beginning. One day I went back to the city where I was born and I saw my husband to be. We came from the same city. I saw him coming towards me and of course, we hugged and were very happy. He asked me where I was staying. He came to see me. From then on, we saw each other a lot. We waited a while and then both of us tried to go to Germany to wait for our time to go to the United States. On March 12, 1946, we were married in the Displaced Person’s (DP) camp in Frankfort Germany.
When did you come to the United States?
We had to wait until 1949 until we got our visas. We came on a ship called the General Sturges. It was an eleven-day trip to New York. We went through Ellis Island. When we saw the Statue of Liberty, I felt amazing. I was so thrilled to be coming to America. But we still worried about the future, about finding jobs and settling down. We were young but it was a new world for us.
Where did you settle?
We lived for 38 years in Flint, Michigan.
How is it that you came to Michigan?
We came to Flint because my husband was an auto mechanic. I also worked for General Motors for a little while. There were very few other Holocaust survivors in Flint.
Occupation after the war
I worked for General Motors on the line for the AC spark-plug division for a little while.
Abram Winogron, Auto Mechanic
Ruth Organek (deceased, see photograph), Debbie Licavoli
Grandchildren: Jacob Organek, Danielle Bernstein, Matthew Licavoli, Stefanie Licavoli; Great Grandchildren: Rylan Organek, Ross Bernstein, Mason Bernstein, Kensie Organek, Lexi Licavoli
What do you think helped you to survive?
I tell you, I was so young, that I wasn’t really thinking too much about it. It was all day-by-day. We were afraid for tomorrow because people were dying. Everyday was a different ordeal. I was sixteen years old; I wasn’t really thinking how I was going to survive. I was just hoping that I would get a piece of bread the next day. The food was the main thing in the camps. We were starving; we only wanted a little more bread.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Young people should pay attention.  They should listen and see what’s going on in the world, in case there is more anti-Semitism.  My hope for the future is for peace and health in the world.

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