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Rose Marton

Tennessee Holocaust Commission -

Memphis, Tennessee
Born: 1927 Chust, Czechoslovakia (Now Ukraine)
Survivor : Chust ghetto, Auschwitz Concentration Camp

“After we were liquidated from the Chust ghetto, we were taken to Auschwitz,“ recalls Rose Marton. “The train was unbearable-no light, no water, no place to use the bathroom. We were like animals-that's why they called them cattle cars, I suppose.“

Thirteen-year-old Rose saw her family for the last time. “I was crying and clinging to my mother, who tried to hold on to all three of the children,“ she recounts. “They ripped me from her, hit me over the head to make me move, and I let go of her.“

Auschwitz was “hell on Earth,“ she says. “We were about five to a bunk. If anyone wanted to turn over, everyone had to turn over in order to move. In the middle of the night we had to stand outside for hours in the freezing cold, with no shoes on, so we could be counted. If anyone flinched, it meant a bullet to their head.“

The SS called for seventy “beautiful girls for private secretarial work,“ she recalls, who were required to have “soft and clean hands.“ Fortunately, she says, “I had a rash on my hands and decided not to volunteer. I later heard that those women were used in a way that is shameful and then we never saw them again. It is strange to think my infected hands saved my life.“

Rose worked in an airplane factory near Hamburg, Germany, with four hundred other female inmates. Learning that the Russian Army was near, she and others left on foot. Scared and starving, they walked west for two days. “When we saw the Americans, we came out of hiding and felt safe for the first time in a very long time.“