Concentration camp survivor reminds students of Nazi war horrors

Posted: Tuesday, 30 October 2012

TROY - Ann Rosenheck was a school girl in Czechoslovakia until 1944. That was the year she lost most of her friends. “They just disappeared,” she told Troy University students Tuesday during an hour-long lecture as part of the University’s “Year of Holocaust Remembrance.” Born in Rachov, Czechoslovakia, a small town nestled in the Carpathian Mountains, Rosenheck was only 13 years old when the Nazis occupied her town. She and her family were first sent to the Jewish ghetto, then to Auschwitz concentration camp where she was separated from her family during the “selection” process. After four months there, she was sent to Germany to work in an ammunition factory in Dachau. She was liberated in April 1945, and arrived in the United States in 1948. Rosenheck was on campus to share her experiences as a Jew under Nazi rule as an effort to remind people of the horrors of war. She spoke Sunday, Oct. 28, on the Dothan Campus. She first spoke at TROY in 2010. The series is sponsored by the University and the Alabama Humanities Foundation. Told by her mother to conceal the fact she was only 13, Rosenheck managed to avoid “selection” for the gas chambers by working and by benefitting from the charity of those around her. She twice was shielded from “Angel of Death” Josef Mengele, the Nazi physician at Auschwitz who sent thousands to the gas chambers. “I managed – with God’s help and other people – to escape collections for the death chambers,” she said. “Everyone could recognize that I was a child.” Eventually, she was sent to Dachau to work on aircraft propellers. While there she was befriended by a prisoner doctor, smuggled and hidden in the men’s camp by Czech prisoners and liberated by Gen. Ike Eisenhower’s forces. Rosenheck will be back on the Dothan Campus at 10 a.m. Wednesday, October 31, to watch a presentation of a play developed by Heard Elementary School students regarding the Holocaust.

Anne Rosenheck