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.
And they said to me, "You have a choice to go either on a farm, to an ammunition, uh, fabrik [factory], or to hotels. I thought for myself to be...to be safe, would be the best thing to go on a farm. Because I knew it'll be a lot [of] hard work but I won't meet so many Poles. I was afraid to meet Poles. That was the idea. I still had my false papers as a Christian girl. Sure. As Maria Kowalcik. Maria Jadwiga Kowalcik. The middle name was Jadwiga. As such I came to Germany, as Maria Kowalcik. And I thought for my own sake, I probably would be safer to be away from everybody. And I thought on a farm, Poles would probably not likely go to a farm. They might want to go to a hotel, to some offices, to some...any other place, but I thought for myself, I'd rather go to a farm. First of all, I was emaciated. I was...I was about eighty, ninety pounds, skin and bone, when I came to Germany. Skin and bone. And...um...as such I came to Germany. They told me where they are going to bring me, to Krummhardt, near Esslingen. It is a small farm, that the man that owns the farm is paralyzed, but he has a son-in-law by the name of Karl Beck, and a daughter Louise. She was just married to this Mr. Beck. And I was brought to Krummhardt. That's how I came to Germany. Okay. I was a city girl. I never knew what means...what work means because at home we were wealthy. We had maids, and...we had everything. I never even knew how to boil a glass of water. Very spoiled...very...really very well taken care of, and I had no idea what a farm means...to work on a farm. Anyway, but I adapted and adjusted very well. I knew that that's the way it is. That's the way it's going to be. I better make the best of it.
We would like to thank The Crown and Goodman Family and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.