William & Rosalie: A Holocaust Testimony

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University of North Texas Press, 2007 - History - 165 pages
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William & Rosalie is the account of two young Jewish people from Poland who survived six different German slave and concentration camps throughout the Holocaust. In 1941, newlyweds William and Rosalie Schiff are forcibly separated and sent on their individual odysseys through a surreal maze of hate. Terror in the Krakow ghetto, sadistic SS death games, cruel human medical experiments, eyewitness accounts of brutal murders of men, women, children and even infants, and the menace of rape in occupied Poland make William & Rosalie an unusually candid view of the chaos that World War II unleashed on the Jewish people.
The lovers' story begins in Krakow's ancient neighborhood of Kazimierz, after the Germans occupy western Poland. A year later they marry in the ghetto; by 1942 deportations have wasted both families. After Rosalie is saved by Oskar Schindler, the husband and wife end up at the Plaszow work camp under Amon Goeth, the bestial commandant played by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List. While Rosalie is on "heaven patrol" removing bodies from the camp, William is working in the factories. But when Rosalie is shipped by train to a different factory camp, William sneaks into a boxcar to follow, and he ends up at Auschwitz instead.
Craig Hanley narrates the struggle of the lovers to stay alive and find each other at war's end. Now in their eighties, William and Rosalie come to terms in this book with the loss of their families and years of torture at the hands of Nazi captors. Unique among memoirs from this era, the book connects directly to the present day. The Schiffs' ongoing and highly effective campaign against prejudice and discrimination is a heroic culmination of two lives scarred beyond belief by racism. William & Rosalie combines biography with timely lessons on the nature of mass hate, a stubborn phenomenon that continues to endanger every life on Earth.

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Extremely good book, but very heart-breaking and devastating too. Today one of the authros talked to me, Rosalie, sadly her husband died of a stroke in december 2010, so it must be very hard on her to keep talking about it.

Selected pages


When will people stop hating?
In this ghetto we were married
Plaszow The first camp
It has to have an end
I wish I could have helped more people
Remember how I lived my life Rose
Family photographs
Three days in the grave
One hundred miles of rapists
A human being
Ghost town
On the border
The future of hate
Key to InterChapter Photos
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Page 8 - If I knew then what I know now it would have been poison.

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