Browse By

Holocaust survivor documents her childhood trauma: “The Nazis raped me at age 6”

Zeni Rozenstein was raped, tortured and abused by the Nazis when she was living in a concentration camp at age 6. The Nazis beheaded her 4-year-old sister. Now, she has published a new memoir documenting the whole experience in a memoir in Hebrew titled “Angel over the Door.”


While the subject has not been studied widely until recently, among the 6 million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust were an unknown number of Jewish women who were raped in the camps and the ghettos. According to the Women Under Siege organization, “There are few records for this particular form of suffering for many reasons including no records being kept of rapes, that few of the women survived, and that the Nazis were specifically forbidden from touching Jewish women because of the race defilement laws known as Rassenchande. But individuals did not always follow the higher ranks, secretly raping Jewish women.” In honor of International Holocaust Memorial Day, JerusalemOnline interviewed Zeni Rozenstein, who recently published a memoir in Hebrew titled “Angel over the Door” that shares her experience being raped, sexually abused and tortured during the Holocaust.

According to Zeni, when she was but 6 years old, a Nazi soldier approached her in the concentration camp and thought that she was Christian because she had blond hair. He accused her family of stealing her from a Christian family. But once he understood that she was really Jewish and not Christian, he started terribly and brutally abusing her: “He broke my nose, my back and my finger. When I fell down on the ground, he burned my face and touched me. When I begged him not to do that and to give me water, he took out his sexual organ and pissed in my mouth. I fell down.” She related that he sent dogs after her, who bit her and tore off her skin.

After that, the guard brought some lady to bring Zeni to receive medical treatment. When she opened up her eyes, they asked her who she was and when she told them, she was brought back to her family: “My family was in shock. My grandmother was a doctor. She put some things on me so that I would not have an infection.” But the Nazis continued to go after Zeni’s family. They took an ax and beheaded Zeni’s 4-year-old sister. These events greatly traumatized Zeni: “I did not talk from age 9 through age 11.”

The trauma of being raped, tortured, and witnessing the brutal murder of her baby sister took an enormous toll on her mental as well as physical health. She was in a Russian hospital, which provided her with medical treatment for her injuries: “I went through many operations.” When she made Aliyah at age 14, she was placed in a mental hospital for a year and a half. After that, she was able to function but still felt miserable. She was scared to get married because she felt that all of the men were like those Nazis that abused her. In the end, she managed to marry a wonderful man who was very patient with her, even though she did not want to have marital relations after the wedding due to her trauma. Nevertheless, she overcame that fear and they managed to have two children together.

But when her husband died when Zeni was 51 years old, all of the years where Zeni bottled up her story inside her came back to haunt her and her mental health took a nose dive for the worst. She even became suicidal: “From that time, I had it very hard. I could not work or do anything. I was hospitalized.” Now, she lives off a pension as a Holocaust survivor and needs frequent mental healthcare in order to function. However, despite her difficult health condition, she now does not keep her story to herself as psychologists


Click here for the Top 12 Moments in Jewish History...LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN! »


Join the over 1.4 million fans of Jews News on FB…It’s NOT news unless it’s Jews News!

Powered by WordPress Popup