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Erna Rosner was born in 1935 into a conservative Jewish family in Krakow, Poland as Erna Zuckerman. In 1939 the Germans occupied Krakow. Almost immediately, the persecution of the Jews began. For the first time in her life, Erna felt fear. In 1941 the Germans forced Erna’s family and all Jews to move to the ghetto. During her time there, Erna met her future husband, William Rosner.

In 1943 Erna arrived home from work detail to discover that German soldier took her mother, father, and brother away. Tragically, they were taken to Auschwitz and gassed.

Not long after, Erna was sent to the Plaszow concentration camp with William. Both were put on Schindler’s List but Erna was later removed due to someone’s bribe to substitute her with someone else.

Erna was then sent to Auschwitz, where the Nazis tattooed her and shaved her head.  One day, she was ordered to go to the crematorium for her death. Miraculously, the ovens were malfunctioning that day and Erna survived

After, Erna was transferred to Bergen-Belsen for a short time, where she contracted typhus. From there, the Nazis moved Erna to Venusberg, Germany to the labor camp there. Later, Erna was transferred to Mauthausen Camp. Not long after, the Americans liberated the camp. Erna, near death and not even weighing 70 pounds, could hardly believe it.

Erna and William reunited a few months later in Krakow. They married a year later in Munich. The couple moved to New York in 1949 and had two sons together.

Survivor Erna Rosner tells of her Auschwitz experience, the selection process, Mengele, and the crematoria.

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