1917 Sagano, Czechoslovakia
Helene Rothschild was born in Sagano, Czechoslovakia.
Helene was refused entry for Teachers College due to being Jewish.
Upon hearing about the conditions in Europe, Helene’s older brother asked her to come to the United States. Her uncle who signed the affidavit was considered too old to sponsor her, so it was denied.
While visiting her sister in another village, her niece came home crying, claiming the teacher was being mean. Helene went to speaks to the teacher to find out why her niece was being mistreated, and her simple reason given was, “She’s Jewish.”
Her brother attempted to send her another affidavit; she was called to Prague to meet and interview with an American consulate; passed due to high marks in intelligence.
She boarded a ship in Hamburg, Germany, stopping in Berlin. She walked the streets at night, not realizing that it was dangerous. Luckily no one stopped her to ask if she was a Jew.
July 4: Helene arrived in Nashville; she lived with her uncle and worked in the May Hosiery Mill, taking English lessons at night.
Sept. 1: World War II began, ending any possibility for the rest of Helene’s family to join her. Her parents, sisters, nieces and nephews perished in the Buchenwald concentration camp
Helene moved from Nashville, TN to Chicago, IL and worked as a bookkeeper assistant.
Her uncle died, and his wife was left alone. Helene returned to Nashville to take care of her aunt and regained her job at May Hosiery Mill in the offices.
Helene returned to Chicago, working in her old office until she married Irving Rothschild and they moved to Gary, Indiana, where they bought a grocery store. A few months later, one of her cousins left for California, inviting Helene and her husband. They sold the grocery store and moved to California, where they lived for 12 years.
Helene’s brother William, who had been in a concentration camp, finally came to the United States after living in Italy after his liberation.
Aaron, her other surviving brother, also joined them after getting married in Italy and going back to their village to seek out any surviving Jewish families. He found none.