Once upon a time in a magical town called Ciechanow there was an gutsy Zionist family. Faige Trombka, in Czarist times, "risked giving her home for a Zionist library, for Hebrew courses… She raised her children as staunch Jews, fought for the establishment of Israel," said those who remember.
Faige and Yeshayahu Robota had a beautiful daughter, Rosa; they called her Reizel, as everyone surely sang to her.
In the autumn of ’39, the Germans came, and after a sadistic occupation (according to testimony at the Eichmann trial), many of the 6,000 Jews there were sent to Auschwitz. Among them was Rosa — Reizel.
Now she had a war to fight, a small corner of the war.
She would bide her time. Along with several other Jewish women, she would smuggle explosives from the depots of the Weichsel-Union Metallwerke, within the Auschwitz complex, where Rosa did slave labor.
In October 1944, in her fifth year as a Nazi slave, Rosa Robota, along with Noach Zabludovitch, a friend from Ciechanow, helped lead a prisoner revolt in Auschwitz that blew up part of the crematoria.
According to the "Auschwitz Chronicle: 1939-1945,” a day-by-day history from the archives of the Auschwitz Memorial and the German Federal Archives, here’s what happened 66 years ago today — January 6, 1945 — just days before liberation.
It was a busy day in the lager. 1,004 women prisoners were transferred from Birkenau to Bergen-Belsen, and toward evening four female prisoners – Rosa Robota, Ella Gartner, Regina Safir, and Estera Wajsblum – were murdered by hanging because of their participation in the Auschwitz uprising.
Kum tsu mir in cholem, Reizel, kum, kum, kum. Come to me in dreams.
Noach, Rosa’s friend from Ciechanow, survived and delivered that chilling testimony at the Eichmann trial about what happened when the Nazis came to town, the beginnings of the Jewish underground, and how this all got started.
In 2000, a race horse — a thoroughbred race horse!? — was named after Rosa Robota, as The Times told the story.
Today is January 6, 2011. According to Weatherbug.com, it is cold and windy in Ciechanow, dropping to 14 degrees, with light snow falling after midnight.