Samuel Rotberg

"Cherish and protect your family."

Name at birth
Shloma Lazer Rotberg
Year of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Warsaw, Poland
Name of father, occupation
Leibish Rotberg
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Etke Kowieski, Small Grocery Store Owner
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Grandmother Chai Sura Kowieski, grandfather Yosel Kowieski, parents, sister Ruchelle Leia Kowieski (died before the war), and me
How many in entire extended family?
Who survived the Holocaust?
Only me
I was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1921.  Before the war, I lived with my grandmother and mother and worked in my mother’s small grocery store after school.  I was very devoted to my family.  When the war broke out, I escaped to Russia, but returned to Warsaw to help protect my mother who refused to leave Poland.  I had blond hair and blue eyes and was able to smuggle items into the ghetto. My mother died in the war.  From 1939 to 1945 I was in six different camps: Majdanek, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Mauthausen, Buna, Gleiwitz, and Platling. 
After the war, I was in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany where I met Fay Gutman and the two of us married. Our son Simon Lucien was born in Paris, France in 1947.  Our daughter Betty Rae was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1948. When I first came to Detroit, I worked at Tomboy Super Market.  I later owned my own super market in Garden City, Michigan and then owned my own liquor store in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  I’ve never been a financially wealthy person, but I measure my wealth by my relationships.  I cherished my wife, children and grandchildren.                                                                                
Name of Ghetto(s)
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
What DP Camp were you after the war?
Where did you go after being liberated?
After the DP camp I went to Paris, France and later to Detroit, Michigan.
Where did you settle?
Detroit, Michigan
How is it that you came to Michigan?
My cousins sponsored me. My wife Fay, son Lucien Simon, and I boarded a Polish cruise ship, the Sobieski, and arrived in America on August 30, 1947.
Occupation after the war
When and where were you married?
1946 in a Displaced Persons Camp in Germany
Fay Gutman Rotberg, Homemaker
Lucien Simon Rotberg, retail business Betty R. Ellias, retired high school English teacher
Four: Samantha Spasoff, Jacob Spasoff, Talya Rotberg, and Ammi Rotberg
What do you think helped you to survive?
Hard work, luck, and quick thinking.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Cherish and protect your family.
Biography given by daughter, Betty Rotberg Ellias
Interview date:

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