Despite the millions of Holocaust deaths, many people endured, including Rose Beal. She is a Holocaust survivor living in Boise, and on Oct. 30 she shared her story with students and community members alike.
“She is a great speaker, I thought it was really moving how she was so willing to talk about it so openly after everything she’s been through,” said Melinda Smith, sophomore communication major. “It wasn’t as intense as some other stories but it was really moving.”
In her speech Beal told of how she was 11 years old when Hitler came to power, and didn’t realize the significance of it.
But she does remember her grandmother cried all day because she was worried about what would happen to her children and
grandchildren. Six weeks later, two weeks before the first boycott against Jewish stores, her grandmother died suddenly and was saved from having to witness her fears come true.
Soon after this, all of the books and compositions by Jewish authors were burned in front of City Hall. Beal mentioned Heinrich Heine when talking of this, and wondered where he came up with his connection between books and people being burned, but thought it was relevant to the situation she witnessed.
“Where they burn books, they will also burn people,” Heinrich Heine once said.
A couple of months after the burning she and her siblings were ambushed by children they had played with only two months earlier and were outsiders in their own country.
There were signs up saying “no Jews allowed” and “no Dogs or Jews allowed.” Beal said she recalled watching the other little girls play together when she could only watch.
While the children played ‘soldier,’ there were real soldiers on the streets. Storm troopers’ boots resonated on the asphalt while the troopers sang and Beal hid from them almost every day.
Beal’s mother finally realized they couldn’t stay in Germany and contacted Beal’s uncle who lived in New York City. They filled out their paperwork to get approval for immigration and VISA’s but would have to wait about three years before they could actually leave the country.
Beal was part of the first deportation and narrowly escaped death. They packed her and her family onto trains and then into a tunnel where everyone was so close together that when someone died they didn’t even have room to fall down. Men who prayed were beaten and Beal herself yelled at the praying men telling them there was no god. She even yelled at the storm troopers, which she stated had not been a good idea and she was lucky she wasn’t beaten. As it came time for Beal to step out of the tunnel as the line moved forward, an announcement told them they could
“I would literally break down and cry if I was her,” said Aubrianne Christensen, sophomore political science major with an emphasis in law. “Because it would be such a blessing to be able to go home, but still having that fear about my getting killed, I would break down and cry.”
Just a few nights later, her family woke up to the sound of breaking glass. The “Night of Broken Glass” was upon them and civilians out on the streets sang “Today the Jews get what they deserve. We’re going to kill all the Jews.”
Beal’s mother sent her to find out about the progress of their VISA’s at the consulate and the man at the consulate said he had good news. They had been granted asylum, but he also had bad news.
The yearly quota for VISA’s had been filled and Beal’s family would have to wait six weeks until the new year, and then they would receive a call.
They got a call in March telling them they had been approved and everything was in order. The family left with only a small suitcase each and $2.50 between them. Beal remembers sitting in the consulate and hearing an announcement over the loud speaker about Hitler marching his troops into what would become World War II. Beal had narrowly escaped being caught up in the devastating war.
“This great country never disappointed me,” Beal said. “We truly lived the American dream.”
After she and her family made it safely to America they were nervous about how they would be treated and, for them, it was a relief to find a lack of descriminatory signs singling out Jews in the country.