Zuzanna Mensz’ mother Mariem Szyfra Rosset and sister Zlata

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  • Photo taken in:
    Volodymir Volyns’kyy
    Year when photo was taken:
    1913
    Country name at time of photo:
    Russia
    Country name today:
    Ukraine

This is my mom with my oldest sister Zlatka. Zlatka was 3-4 years old then, so I think the photo could be taken in 1913. They lived in Volodymir Volyns’kyy at the time.

My Mom's name was Mariem Szyfra. I found out it was 'Mariem' later, I'd always thought she was called 'Maria'. She was born in 1886, she was the eldest child. I don't know when she got married exactly, I'm assuming she wasn't very young. She met her husband through a matchmaker. I heard she also tried to liberate herself [emancipate], just like Aunt Chana, her sister. As all the girls from Skryhiczyn she completed five years of gymnasium, she used to learn French, she had some education. But eventually she let them find her a husband. My Father was called Mosze Rosset. They lived in Volodymir-Volyns'kyy but later, still before World War I, moved to Lublin with my eldest sister.

Mom was very pretty, a bit plump. She was a very good person. After Father's death in 1933, for example, we rented an apartment in Volodymir and we had a neighbor who was even poorer then us. She was a widow with two children, who made her living selling things at the market and fairs. She cooked a meal only once a week. Mom, although really poor herself, used to take this woman's daughter with us on summer holidays to feed her up a bit. Mom was remarkably absent-minded. There were jokes about the whole Horowicz family, they were all considered scatter-brains, they often got distracted, absent-minded, forgetful, and Mom was no different, she would always lose her keys and such. She was not a very religious person, unlike my Father.

My elder sister was born in 1909. She was called Sara Zlata, we called her Zlatka. She was born still in Volodymir and we already in Lublin. Zlatka moved to Warsaw to study when she was sixteen. She studied Polish history at the Warsaw University. She already had Communist sympathies back then. She spent a year in prison for some political affairs. With a sentence like this she was unable to find a work as a teacher. She gave private lessons, she was a very good math tutor. She earned so well on tuition that she was even able to help Mom a little.

Interview details

Interviewee: Zuzanna Mensz
Interviewer:
Aleksandra Bankowska
Month of interview:
February
Year of interview:
2005
Warsaw, Poland

KEY PERSON

Mariem Szyfra Rosset
Year of birth:
1886
City of birth:
Skryhiczyn
Country name at time of birth:
Russia
Year of death:
1942
City of death:
Sobibor
Country of death:
German-occupied Poland
Died where:
Sobibor
Occupation
before WW II:
Landowner
Family names
  • Previous family name: 
    Horowicz
    Reason for changing: 
    Marriage
    Decade of changing: 
    1900

Other Person

Sara Zlata Bursztyn
Year of birth:
1909
City of birth:
Volodymir Volyns’kyy
Country name at time of birth:
Russia
Year of death:
1999
City of death:
Tel Aviv
Country of death:
Israel
Occupation
before WW II:
Teacher
after WW II:
Editor
  • Previous family name: 
    Rosset
    Year of changing: 
    1939
    Reason for changing: 
    Marriage

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