Shari Weiss

"Keep the memory of us alive. People should remember what happened to us and also now, I think that we should have more tolerance for each other.      Hatred begets hatred, we should consider one another and treat people the way we would like to be treated."

Name at birth
Shari Rosenfeld
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Name of father, occupation
David, Wheat merchant
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Szeren Salamon, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and seven children: Feige, Mihaly, Hershel, Golda, Marika, Zelig and Shari
Who survived the Holocaust?
Four: Feige, Mihaly, Hershel and me
Kolozsvar went back and forth between Romania and Hungary.  In 1940, Hitler gave this part of Transylvania to the Hungarians. 
In May, 1944, the Germans came in gathered all of the Jews of Kolozsvar into a makeshift ghetto which was a brick factory with no walls.  I was with my aunt and uncle in Kolozvar at the time, my family was back in Harina.  
In June they transported us from the Ghetto to Auschwitz.  I was in the third transport.  I had two siblings younger than me.  I was 15, one was 4 or 5 years younger than me, the other was 2 or 3 years younger than me.  I assume that my mother and the two younger children were together when they arrived at Auschwitz and that they were taken to the gas chamber together.  Women with young children had no chance at surviving.
I was at Auschwitz from June till October, 1944.  We were taken to Altenburg where we worked in a tool and die factory making parts for airplanes.  Altenburg was bombed and the camp was evacuated.  We were marched from Altenburg as the Russian army was nearing.   
We walked until we reached a small town in Germany called Phasroda.  The American troops caught up to us.  We were liberated on Friday, April 13, 1945.  
Happiness is not a strong enough word, to describe the feelings I felt.  It was incredible; there are no feelings that can describe how I felt, elation, happiness… 
We were in a barn in Phasroda, we had been on the march without food or water.  We marched aimlessly; we were bombed on the way.  It was on a Friday night, April 13; they took us into a barn outside this little town.  The SS were still with us, some tried to get away wearing civilian clothes.
We heard heavy machinery coming closer, we went to see.  We all had little white bowls for our food from the factory.  We all came out of barn and held of up our little bowls like a sign of surrender.   
We marched out from that barn.  There was a tank there.  A soldier named Stanley spoke to us in Jewish!  We were beyond any elation!  
They housed us even as dirty and filthy as we were.  They gave us food and shelter, they took care of us.  I was together with three other sisters and an aunt of mine.  We later went back to Hunar.  I didn’t find anyone.

I was married in 1946 in Hungary to Andrew Weiss, who was also a survivor.  I was 17, my husband was 23.  We left Hungary illegally to go to Austria.  We got to a DP camp (Displaced Persons) in Salzburg.  From there we tried to go to Italy to go by ship to Palestine.  
Andrew had an affidavit to go the United States; he had two uncles who lived in Akron, Ohio.  But the quota for Hungarians was terrible, we couldn’t get in.  We didn’t want any more contact with Germany.  So we tried to go to Palestine by crossing the Alps.  The Bricha, the agency helping Jews come to Israel, was helping us.  We went from Austria in Italy by foot at night.  It was very steep and perilous.  
We had false papers, they took us to Milan.  We heard that the English were catching refugees trying to get to Palestine and taking them to Cyprus.  I didn’t want to be behind barbed wires anymore.
We still wanted to go to the United States.  About twenty of then went to France crossing the Alps by foot with the help of a guide.  We were caught by French authorities and put in jail for the night.  We walked at night with rags on our shoes so echoes would be muffled.  But our guide was stupid and we were caught.  
They took us by train back to the other side.  We again attempted it; our uncle had sent us a little money.  We took a little bus to Nice, France.  HIAS, Hebrew Immigrant Assistance Society, helped us.  We went to Lyon.  Andrew found a job, making a meager salary.  
We went to Paris and were there for five years.  Finally, the visa to the United States came through.  Our daughter Judy was born in Paris.  
In 1952, we came to Akron, Ohio from Paris.  It was a culture shock.  Andrew worked in rubber factory for a couple of years.  One uncle lived in Akron, the other was in Detroit. The uncle in Akron moved to California.  We moved to Detroit.  My husband got a better job becoming a tool and die apprentice and later a journeyman working for Federal Engine and later for Chrysler Corporation.

To learn more about this survivor, please visit these sites.
Name of Ghetto(s)
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
When did you come to the United States?
When and where were you married?
1946 in Hungary
Andrew Weiss, Journeyman for Federal Engine and Chrysler Corporation
Judy and Michele (deceased)
Two: Jeremy and Kevin and One great grandchild Jonah
What do you think helped you to survive?
I was young and wanted to live. I remember the last day of school, it was a segregated gymnasium (high school), it was accredited and one of the academically best schools. Teachers from all over wanted to teach there. It was a tremendously strong school system. On March 23rd when Germans came in, they let us out of school. I said to myself, I’m 15 years old, I’m too young, they’re not going to kill me, I’m going to survive. We were young and naïve. I had a survivor instinct, I wanted to live, and that attitude got me through.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Keep the memory of us alive. People should remember what happened to us and also now, I think that we should have more tolerance for each other.   
Hatred begets hatred, we should consider one another and treat people the way we would like to be treated.
Charles Silow
Interview date:

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