The Chasdei Netzach NPO was established in memory of our beloved parents who were Holocaust survivors, Mr. Nechemia Roosen and his wife, Tzila Chana Z”L. Their private salvation and miraculous survival story underline our mission – to be the messengers for the salvation of families hoping for salvation.
Our father, Mr. Nechemia Roosen, was born in Krefeld, Germany in 1926. His father worked for a living in a textile factory and raised his children with faith together with his wife, the daughter of Reb Nechemia Stern of Berlin. Our greatgrandfather established a synagogue in their home, in his desire to stay safe from the reform influence that was infiltrating the local synagogue.
Many refugees from Poland, known as ‘Ost Juden’, also lived in Krefeld. They brought with them various customs and Father's parents adopted some of them, such as the beautiful custom that Father always kept – to give out L'chaim and cake on the memorial days of his parents and sister, and pray for the ascent of their souls. As father used to add and say: "The souls should rise, the sick be cured and everyone have salvation."
As Hitler (may his name and memory be blotted out) rose to power, father's parents moved to the Netherlands, where his father continued to work in a branch of the same textile factory and could still travel to Krefeld when necessary. Father studied in a local Jewish school, and celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in Elul 1939, a moment before the skies of Europe were turned red by the War.
When the tension in the air rose, the family had their entire belongings registered by a notary and hidden in the property of their gentile neighbors who cared for their wellbeing and deserve to be named as ‘Righteous Among the Nations’. Only after the Holocaust, when all the property did indeed return to Father's hands, did he realize how wise it was.
In 1942 Father’s sister Amalia married Dago Eigenfeld, but their happy marriage lasted only a few months. They were taken together with her parents and brother to the Westerbork transit camp in Northern Netherlands, from which crowded trains departed each week to the concentration camps in Germany and Poland. After staying there for about a year, Father and his parents were taken to Bergen-Belsen. The young couple, together with the baby born to them, was taken to Terezin and from there to Auschwitz, where only the young father survived, leaving behind his wife and daughter, may G-d avenge their blood.
Although there were no gas chambers in Bergen-Belsen, the angel of death wandered about and took people who died from disease and hunger. Father, whose job was to transfer shoes from the factory to the warehouse, witnessed the worst of all every day but remained strong in spirit. He did not desecrate the Shabbat. Every Shabbat day, he made his way from the factory to the warehouse without taking any shoes with him. When he was stopped, he would make up a different excuse each time, all in honor of Shabbat.
Two months before the release, his father returned his pure soul, and his dead body did not even merit to be buried.
When the Germans realized that their end was near, they hurried to send a transport of 3000 people including Father and his mother on a train from the camp to Terezin. After ten days of travel on the train and continuous bombing of rail tracks by the Americans, they stopped at the town of Troebitz on the East German border and the German soldiers ran for their lives. The next day, the Russians arrived and released the Bergen-Belsen refugees who were sick and hungry. Father's mother returned her soul a week after the liberation and was buried there in a mass grave.
Father, the young orphan, was also ill and was hospitalized for six months in a Dutch hospital, unaware that he had also lost his sister and his mother's family. His second cousin, Yossef Magnus and his son Leon found him in the hospital and offered him to come and live in a room for rent they had in their possession. He studied electrical engineering so he could make a living and, after about two years, he joined his cousin's metal business.
Mother, Mrs. Tzila Roosen, daughter of Reb Chaim Yitzchak Rosenthal, may G-d avenge his blood, was born in Velbert, Germany in 1931. Her parents were Polish refugees.
When she was only seven years old, her parents sent her with children of her age to the Netherlands, in order to save them from the spirits of war that began hovering over Germany. In the Netherlands, she was taken into a Jewish orphanage, but refused to eat because she feared the food was not kosher. The orphanage’s management located a foster family for her, the Lange family, and they took her under their wing in addition to their two sons. After moving to Amsterdam, they too were taken to Bergen-Belsen and were sent on the same train to Troebitz on which Father was travelling – there they were also liberated by the Russians.
When she was released, mother was still a young girl, only 14 years old. She enrolled into a local high school and immersed herself in her studies, trying to heal the severe wounds from the harsh loss she experienced. Upon graduating from high school, Mother traveled to England to study in a seminar. When she returned, she joined the metal business where Father was working.
Only a few years later, Father's second cousin proposed the match. Father and Mother got engaged and married in Sivan 1954. They lived in a small apartment in Amsterdam, close to their cousins and the Lange family, mother’s adoptive parents.
The belongings of Fathers parents were hidden by their gentile neighbors and were preserved by father and mother as memorials and as a witness to the beautiful times that had been and would never return. Up to this day, the family still has remnants of these belongings, along with recipes packed with nostalgia and memories that no one can take away.
Father and mother, who gradually became aware of their great loss and the life that would never return, did not give up hope but rather did as much as possible to start a new life. It is difficult to understand how out of such terrible horror a human being is able to rise up and choose life. However, this ability is a great lesson for us – to find the light and hope in every situation and to hold on to the strength of faith in order to rise.
In this spirit, the spirit of hope and faith, we established 'Chasdei Netzach'. To grant all those needy families of Torah scholars the strength to rise up and look ahead, to believe that everything can be better, with G-d’s help.
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