NYer Of The Week: Sol Rosenkranz Passes On His Tale Of Survival During The Holocaust
History lessons come to life for students visiting the Museum of Jewish Heritage, where this week's New Yorker tells his tale of tragedy and survival. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
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Passing on information, however tragic, is something that has defined Sol Rosenkranz's life.
A note passed through the crack in a factory floorboard was how he learned his family was taken to a concentration camp.
"Trains are rolling by, and those people had thrown out notes by the thousands," he says. "Little kids were running back and forth, picking up the notes and pushing them into our factory through the fence. About 10 days after we had been detained, I get a note from my family, who was on one of those trains."
As a young Jewish man in Poland, Sol did everything he could to survive after Nazis invaded his town.
Today, at the age of 95, he shares his experience with school children who visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage. For the last 15 years, Sol has volunteered there, passing on his story of survival.
"I went through six concentration camps," he says. "Two in Poland, two in Germany, two more in Czechoslovakia, where I was liberated by the Russians."
In 1946, when World War II was over, he came to New York.
Telling his story is not easy, but the response he gets keeps him going.
"It is painful. Many times, I break down, yes, 70 years later. But it has to be told," he says.
"You see the faces, you see all the groups go by, and I'm still standing, telling my story, and they go by. In a short time, maybe 10 years from now, 15 at the most, there aren't going to be people like me to tell the story."
"To be able to make the connection between those large, graphic, horrifying pictures and this man who was standing before them, I think really was very moving to them, very emotional," said Stacey Kerr, a teacher with a school group that heard Rosenkranz's story.
"Not only is it important for our students to see him as a Holocaust survivor, but to see him as a positive role model in general," said Abby Spikla, associate director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. "He's full of compassion and full of life, and he shares that with everyone he meets."
So, for passing on a piece of history through his story of survival, Sol Rosenkranz is our New Yorker of the Week.