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George Rosenberg papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2019.290.1

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    George Rosenberg papers

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    The collection consists of family letters written to George Rosenberg after he fled his family home in Offenbach am Main, Germany to Brussels, Belgium on a Kindertransport in 1938, where he lived with relatives in the Orbach family. The letters include one photocopy of a letter to George from his parents Emil and Fanny Rosenberg and sister Liesel Rosenberg in 1938. The other correspondence consists of letters and postcards to George and the Orbachs from his parents and sister Ruth in Offenbach, 1941-1942 before they were deported and killed at the Treblinka extermination camp in 1942. Also included is an undated pre-war studio portrait of Emil and Fanny Rosenberg.
    inclusive:  circa 1920-1942
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum collection, gift of George Rosenberg
    Collection Creator
    George Rosenberg
    George Rosenberg was born in 1923 in Offenbach am Main, Germany to Emil (b. 12 December 1888-1942) and Fanny (née Blum, b. 1 April 1899-1942) Rosenberg. Emil had two brothers, Wilhelm and Max, and one sister, Lily. Fanny’s parents owned several large stores and she was the oldest of six children. George had two sisters: Liesel (b. 6 June 1921) and Ruth (b. 15 July 1929-1942).

    Around 1934, George and the other Jewish children in Offenbach were no longer allowed to attend the public school. A Jewish school was formed and he attended until 1937. After George stopped attending school he began working as an apprentice in a leather goods factory. During Kristallnacht in November 1938, George’s father Emil was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp. He was released after three weeks on the condition that he leave Germany. The family was unsuccessful in obtaining visas, but Emil’s bother Wilhelm and his family immigrated to Australia around this time.

    George and Ruth went on a Kindertransport to Brussels, Belgium in 1938. George would never see his parents again. He and Ruth went to live with their relatives in the Orbach family, including Jacob and Anna Orbach and their sons Joseph, Willy, Leopold, and Arthur. Willy and Leopold owned a leather goods factory, so George continued his apprenticeship there. In early 1939 George’s sister Liesel received a visa and immigrated to England.

    In May 1940 the German army invaded Belgium. The Orbachs planned to flee to France, but as a German George lacked the proper identification to leave. He went to the police station to try and obtain the proper paperwork and was instead arrested and sent to Etterbek in Brussels. He was then transported to internment camps in Le Vigean and Saint-Cyprien in France. George was able write to his parents in Offenbach. He learned Henry Orbach was in the unoccupied Southern Zone of France. George and five others bribed the camp guards to escape. He went to Auch, France where Henry was living. After about a month, George returned to Brussels on a train with other Belgian refugees. He was reunited with his sister Ruth and resumed worked working for Leopold Orbach. Ruth then returned to Germany to reunite with their parents. All three were deported to the Treblinka extermination camp in 1942 where they were murdered.

    George convinced one of his coworkers to give him his identity card and request a new one so that he could create a false identity under the name Renee Swolfs. In 1944 the Germans started conscripting Belgian men over 21 for forced labor. To avoid conscription, George created a new false identity under the name Georges Rolaends with a younger age. He then went into hiding in the house of his friend Raymond Maes’s girlfriend Lulu’s grandmother. He remained there until Brussels was liberated in September 1944.

    He remained in Brussels after the war. In 1948 George met Felice Weissbach and they married five months later. They immigrated to the United States in 1951 and settled in New York. George and Felice had three sons: Daniel (b. 1949), Robert (b. 1953), and Larry (b. 1955).

    George lost several members of his family in the Holocaust including his parents Emil and Fanny Rosenberg; his sister Ruth Rosenberg; his grandparents Esther Blum and Alfred Rosenberg; his uncle Siegfried Blum; his aunt Frieda Rosenberg; and his cousins Paul, Max, Rosa, and Lea Silbergleit and Arthur Orbach.

    Physical Details

    1 folder
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as a single folder

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Offenbach (Germany)

    Administrative Notes

    Donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2019 by George Rosenberg.
    Record last modified:
    2024-04-01 11:42:26
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