GIs Remember

Rosalyn Orenstein - Mauthausen


Rosalyn Orenstein, a native of Cracow, Poland, was incarcerated in four concentration camps.

"I was first sent to Plaszow, spent three months in Auschwitz beginning in October 1944, several weeks in Bergen-Belsen, and was then liberated from the Mauthausen Concentration Camp by American troops, May 1945.

1 remember that the Germans just walked away on May 4, 1945. The following day, as we were creeping out of a big barn, we saw a jeep with three American soldiers. All of us were surprised because we imagined the Americans to be six feet tall; they were much shorter. Maybe it was because they were in a tank unit.

I can't say enough about their kindness and generosity. They had very little, just K rations. They took clothing out of German homes and gave them to us so that we could dress in civilian garb. I remember there were some Jewish GIs among them who showed me Stars of David they wore around their necks. They were just young kids like we were. I felt sorry for their mothers having to send their kids off to war at age eighteen."


Source: GIs Remember, (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Jewish Military History, 1994).