Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust
Name: Rachel (Rosa) Goldberg Katz (1924 – 2013)
Birth Place: Lodz, Poland
Arrived in Wisconsin: 1953, Oshkosh
Unfortunately, history has a way of repeating itself, and this frightens me.
Rachel (Rosa) Goldberg Katz was born in Lodz, Poland, on May 6, 1924, to a well-to-do family with liberal Jewish beliefs. In 1935, her sister and brother-in-law immigrated to Palestine while the rest of the family remained in Poland. When the Germans occupied Lodz in 1939, 15-year-old Rosa was among the thousands of Jews crowded into the city's ghetto.
Three years later, in July 1942, her mother was deported from the ghetto and never heard from again. In August 1944, the Lodz Ghetto was liquidated. Its starving residents, including Rosa, her father, brother, and sister-in-law, Hela, were all shipped to Auschwitz. There she was separated from her father and brother. She never saw them again.
German officials mistakenly sent Rosa and hundreds of other Jewish women (instead of French prisoners) to work at the Krupp munitions factory in Berlin. For eight months, Rosa assembled delicate timepieces for German bombs. In March 1945, she was transferred to the death camp in Ravensbruck, Germany.
The Swedish Red Cross liberated the camp within a month of her arrival. Its inhabitants were transported to Sweden where Rosa recuperated for several years. She married Bernard Katz there (also a survivor). In April 1948, they came to the U.S.
Initially settling in North Carolina, the Katz family moved to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in 1953. They raised four children while Rosa earned a degree in nursing. She worked as a nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh until her retirement in 1994.
Audio and Transcript Information
Below are the highlights of each tape. They do not list all topics discussed. Recordings of only one tape side are marked: (no Side 2). Documents may be printed or downloaded at no cost. See Rights and Permissions
Listen to Rosa's testimony and view transcript
- Religious and secular schooling
- Jewish cultural activities in Lodz
- Anti-Semitism prior to the war
- Her family's fear as war approached
- Start of World War II
- The German invasion of Lodz
- Creation of the ghetto
- Description of Lodz Ghetto, 1940-1944
- Over-crowding, starvation, disease in Lodz Ghetto
- Sadistic cruelty by the Nazis
- Rosa's family is torn apart
- Adolescent reactions to these horrors
- Living conditions and labor in the Lodz Ghetto
- Government administration in the ghetto
- Futile acts of resistance
- A typical day in the ghetto
- Rosa's deportation from Lodz Ghetto, August 1944
- Arrival at Auschwitz and destruction of her family
- Conditions at Auschwitz
- Shipped to Berlin for forced labor
- Arrival in Berlin and symbolic acts of resistance
- Forced labor in Krupp munitions plant
- Allied bombing of the city
- Jewish prisoners cheer the bombers
- Forced march to Oranienburg
- Transfer to the death camp at Ravensbruck
- Liberation by Swedish Red Cross
- Arrival in Sweden, April 1945
- Rosa's attempts to find surviving family members
- Rosa's husband and his family background
- Their marriage and immigration to the U.S. in 1948
- Living in North Carolina before settling in Oshkosh
- Rosa moves to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, 1953
- Anti-Semitism and kindness experienced there
- Oshkosh Jewish community during the 1950s
- Working as a nurse and raising children
- Friends and family life in Oshkosh
- Attitudes of Americans toward the Holocaust
- Religious and social life
- A typical day
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