ENGLEWOOD — Brookville resident Rosina Belt will speak about “My Life as a World War II Concentration Camp Survivor” on September 14 at the Randolph Township Historical Society’s History Center, 114 Valleyview Dr., Englewood.
Born Rosina Dressler in Yugoslavia, to parents of German heritage, she saw her father arrested by Russian troops near the end of the war and sent to Siberia, where he died. Her mother escaped deportation because she had no one to care for her three children. Rosina, 8, was the oldest.
But while the end of the war marked the end of combat for American soldiers, the chaos continued in Europe. In Yugoslavia, the Serbs took control, and one night residents of German heritage, including the Dressler family, were ordered to the edge of town with only the belongings they could carry. Mrs. Dressler gathered documents, pictures, and one change of clothing apiece and hid a featherbed beneath the one-year-old in his buggy.
For three years, the family shared a house with several other families, existing on a cupful of corn a day. Despite being forced to watch a woman shot for trying to escape, the family made their own escape to Hungary, then Austria, and then to Germany, where they had relatives.
“That we got in touch with each other is unbelievable,” Belt said.
Helped by the Catholic Relief Agency and sponsored by an American relative, the family received visas for America on Belt’s 14th birthday in November 1951 and arrived at Ellis Island on St. Nicholas’ Day, Dec. 6, 1951.
Belt’s talk is free and open to all. The historical society will hold a short business session at 7:00 p.m., and Belt will speak at approximately 7:30. There will be refreshments afterward.
Valleyview Drive runs along the bluff above the Stillwater River. Called River Road in Union, it can be reached from East Martindale Road in Union or from East National Road as it enters the western part of Englewood MetroPark. The History Center can also be reached by turning on History Lane from North Main Street in Englewood.