Ukrainian Holocaust survivor Zeni Rosenstein is writing her memoirs. She asks Jerusalem Online readers to help her financially so that she can make her dream of publishing her memoirs a reality, so that future generations will know about the Holocaust.
Zeni Rosenstein is almost eighty years and she is a Holocaust survivor. At her age, she has but one dream in life and that is to publish her memoir about her life experience during the Holocaust, so that future generations can learn the truth that she experienced. The problem is that like many elderly Holocaust survivors in Israel, she does not have the financial means to make this dream a reality.
When I met her at a Holocaust Memorial Day event in Tel Aviv on Holocaust Memorial Day this year, I suggested to her that she try to raise funds from the Jewish community in order for her to publish her memoirs. Since then, she has taken my advice, created a website, and is in the process of raising the necessary funds to tell her story to the entire world.
On her website, Zeni wrote: “My story is a milestone on which the history of the Jewish people and the state of Israel is built on. I wrote my biography since my childhood so that the next generation will understand where we came from and what price we paid with our lives as children and babies .We did not have even one good day without punishments and endless tortures. Therefore my dream is to publish a book of my biography dedicated to my family and especially to my little sister who was brutally murdered in front of me when she was 4, and perpetuate their memory through the book. Since I am not a person of means, I can do this only with your generous help.”
As JerusalemOnline readers who read my first interview with Zeni Rosenstain know, she has an incredible story to tell that is well worth the financial investment. “When I was six year old (this was in 1941), I had a birthday. All of my family was together. My grandmother made candies and cakes. We had clowns,” Rosenstain described. She was living in Czernowitz, Ukraine; a place that she claimed was like a “little Paris.” Then, “a disaster happened. They took the Jews and put us in the ghetto.” Rosenstain clarified that the ghetto for them was essentially just the synagogue, where all of the local Jews in the area were confined, given yellow stars and special passports. “Our homes were given to the anti-semitic Ukrainians,” she stressed.
Soon afterwards, all of the Jews were transferred to a concentration camp. Rosenstain stressed that she lived in a Ukrainian run and not a German run concentration camp. “They put us in a horrible place. They put children to work taking gold from dead people. They broke my finger for refusing to do this work,” Rosenstain stressed. “It was very bad. There was no food. We couldn’t wash ourselves. They gave us horrible punishments. All of the time they called us bloody Jews. People were crying.” At one point, Rosenstein sneaked inside a German bathroom and drew a picture of what the Germans did in the camp. Her mother was scared of punishment and hid the picture, fearing what would happen if they were caught.
Rosenstain explained that the hungRosenstain explained that the hunger situation was so atrocious that she and other children in the camp were forced to look for food in the trash can. “It was bad food, but we didn’t care,” she explained. Unfortunately, the Germans caught them and brutally punished the children. They forced them to stand on cold ice for 24-hours. All of the children that fell were placed in gasoline and burnt to death. Rosenstain survived because she didn’t fall from the ice. “All of them were murdered with no charge in 1943. It was sadistic killing,” she emphasized.
The situation drastically worsen944, when the Russians and the Americans were approaching. “They took everyone out. They claimed that I was stolen from a Christian woman. They said they would kill everyone if they didn’t tell the truth about the blond child,” she explained. In the mindset of the racist Nazis, a Jewish woman could not be the birth mother of a blond haired child that looked like Shirley Temple. Because her family insisted that she was really their daughter, Rosenstain’s sister would be beheaded in front of her entire family. “He finished off the rest of the family with the pistol,” she stressed.
In total, her grandmother, twIn total, her grandmother, two aunts, five cousins, and her sister were murdered in front of her eyes. “I lost all of my family. They finished their lives in a horrible situation,” she emphasized. Only Rosenstain and her mother survived the incident. Her father would also survive the war, because he was a partisan that was not with them at the time. However, after the war, when her family looked for other relatives that survived the Holocaust, the only relatives her family was able to locate were two sisters of her father in Israel. Her mother wasn’t able to find any relatives that survived. As a result, her family moved to Israel in 1950. The picture she drew did survive the war however and is now at Yad Vashem.
Zeni told Jerusalem Online that she finished writing this incredibly tragic yet important Holocaust story in her memoir and all she needs is the funds for someone to edit it, to make it appear professional, and then take care of the publishing costs. She calculated that she needs 16,000 NIS to get the project done and right now, she has succeeded to raise 6,040 NIS. Zeni assured that people who donate will be well-rewarded for doing such a mitzvah. Aside from the spiritual rewards associated with helping out an elderly Holocaust survivor in need and the benefits such a project has for preserving Jewish history, the people who donated will receive a free autographed book and the more who donated will receive a free autographed book and the more people donate, the more they will receive in return. In order to donate to this project, please click on her !