Roza's family moved to Warsaw in 1934. She had just begun college when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. In 1940, the Germans sealed the Warsaw ghetto, where her parents were shot during a roundup. Roza escaped and went into hiding. From her hiding place she saw the burning of the ghetto in the 1943 uprising. She had false papers stating she was a Polish Catholic (Maria Kowalczyk), and was deported by cattle train to Germany in June 1943. She worked on a farm until liberation in 1945.
Before the ghetto was set afire it started to become real bad. People were murdered. People were just taken out for no reason at all and just killed, especially children were just thrown against the wall...just killed. Well, at one point they rounded us up all and they had lines..."you stay here, you stay here, you stay there." At that time we were already...the people started to get separated from their families. If somebody looked well to them enough to be transported to work--which I thought was work--was in one line. People that were sickly looking or meekly looking, they went another line. Elderly parents were in another line. The people that looked too sick to them, they just took care of them right away. Like my parents were, at that time, really very bad looking, and they just shot them right then and there. And not only my parents but a lot of them. I was in the line and I tried to run out to help but I was pushed back. You couldn't do anything. My sisters were younger than I. They took them to...to a younger line. I was in the older line. However, somehow I got out of that line and I, I tried to hide. I got out of that line and I was able to, to get to a hiding place which I hide...I hid. That's how I got out.