By Monise Neumann, International March of the Living
Rosette Goldstein, an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor from the United States, is alive today because, during World War II, a French farmer and his family allowed her to hide in their home. “Monsieur and Madame Martin and the girls were very good to me,” she said. “I was very lucky.”
Born Rosette Adler in Paris in 1938. Her parents were both born in Poland and with the rise of Hitler, her father joined the French army and sent for her mother. Rosette’s father was ultimately thrown out of the French army because he was Jewish.
In October 1942, when it became clear that foreign-born Jews living in France ran the risk of deportation, her father found work in the French countryside as a lumberjack. Since his job was considered to be in the interest of the German economy, he was given a certificate protecting him and his family, who remained in Paris, from deportation. When the situation for the Jews worsened in Paris, and the certificate was no longer a guarantee of safety, Rosette’s father decided that he must take steps to protect his only daughter. He turned to a farmer who lived in the countryside near the lumber camp and asked him to hide his little girl. The farmer talked it over with his wife, who agreed. They already had three daughters and they decided they would have one more. For Rosette, the actions of this family show that there are some good people in the world
Rosette’s father would ride his bicycle at night to see her until he was deported and sent to his death on convoy #64 to Auschwitz.
After the war, Rosette went to a camp run by leaders who were working on the creation of the State of Israel, and the sparks of Rosette’s passion for being Jewish were planted. Rosette was reunited with her mother after the war. She came to the USA and was “reborn.”
Today, Goldstein is 84 years old and remembers so much of it like it was yesterday. Even though there is a lot she’d like to forget, she talks about the Holocaust at every opportunity she has because the younger generations need to know. She has participated in the March of the Living six times and loves being able to inspire people of all faiths and backgrounds. Unfortunately, her husband died in January, 2021from Covid-19. She has a wonderful family with 5 grandchildren and is expecting a great-grandchild in the next few months.
“Comparing the Holocaust to the pandemic makes me incredibly angry. Only the ignorant can do that.” Rosette gets incredibly angry when she hears these comparisons. “People are simply uneducated. They latch on to a name without knowing anything. Do they really know who Mengele was and what he did? What do they know about what it felt like to be a victim of this hatred – having no food, feeling hunted, not being able to participate in daily life – to shop, work, go to school or have a bank account and having to be marked with a yellow star? No one can possibly imagine the horror. People have to learn and think before they speak.”
Rosette is frightened about the continued rise of antisemitism. Not for herself, as she is in the winter of her life, but for her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This can happen again, she says, because people are becoming indoctrinated and there is not enough outrage and rising-up against all this hatred.
She wishes she could see things differently, but she thinks that in a hundred years from now, the Holocaust will be a blip in history and the reason for this is the lack of education that prevails. She feels that it is vital for her and others to speak to people of all faiths and backgrounds so that they understand the horror and devastation. “People don’t want to be reminded about what people did to one another, but it is essential that we do,” she insists.
Rosette will continue to speak about her story and what happened until she will finally close her eyes forever. She carried the burden of those that didn’t survive and she feels she has to give them a voice.