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Forever the Giver

Riki Goldstein

Nurse turned smuggler. Resistance fighter and concentration camp survivor. Rose Gluck Warfman’s extraordinary life was spent doing everything in her ability to help her fellow Jew

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

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Photo: Shutterstock

"Y

ou and I are going for a walk to visit a friend,” the rabbi said casually. They strolled through the streets ofParis, and soon arrived at their destination: Gestapo headquarters. Rose would have fled if not for the rabbi’s firm presence. “Please do not be afraid. I have friends in many useful places. Even so, our success — even our lives — depends upon us acting normally.”

Guttural German accents disturbed the young Jewish girl as they walked purposefully through wide corridors. Chief Rabbi Julien Weill knocked on a door on the first floor. Behind the desk, a high-ranking French Nazi dismissed the SS guard and invited the rabbi and the young girl to sit. He lifted a leather-bound folder and removed documents embossed with the Nazi emblem. Smiling, he pushed them across the desk to Rose. “We need you to check that the date of birth and address are correct before you sign them.”

Wide-eyed and unable to speak, Rose looked from Rabbi Weill to the Nazi officer. She steadied her hand and dipped the pen into the inkwell.

“Mademoiselle, you are now in possession of the highest category of travel documents. They will enable you to travel in any part of the country,” the Nazi said. He studied her for a moment, then added, “You are tall and have blonde hair and pretty blue eyes, so passing for an Aryan girl is not a problem. From now on, don’t ever forget: You are one of us. You must salute Heil Hitler wherever you go.”

What distinguished Rose Gluck? What made Rabbi Weill choose her to carry Nazi identification and run dangerous missions? Protected by these preferential papers, why would a Jewish girl under Nazi occupancy endanger herself to provide assistance to others? The answer comes quickly. “My mother was very selfless. She lived not for herself, but to help and serve others,” says her daughter, Mrs. Gruner. At a time when her people were hunted and oppressed, Rose’s sole focus was to help alleviate their suffering. 

 

Rose Gluck, born inZurichin 1916, was a young Jewish nurse inParisat the beginning of World War II. She used her considerable talents and intelligence to help fellow Jews and Frenchmen under the noses of the Gestapo. After surviving torture in Auschwitz, she emerged battered but strong, and helped rebuild Jewish life inParisand nurture a family of outstanding talmidei chachamim. She lived inParisuntil 1996, when she moved toManchester,England, to be near her children.

Medals for her brave work in the French Resistance accorded Rose her country’s highest honors, and all was accomplished without compromising the high standards of her distinguished parents and forebears. For Rose, who passed away a few weeks ago, in Elul 2016, there was nothing that could stand in the way of her selfless care for others.

Rabbi Weill to the Nazi officer. She steadied her hand and dipped the pen into the inkwell.

 

“Mademoiselle, you are now in possession of the highest category of travel documents. They will enable you to travel in any part of the country,” the Nazi said. He studied her for a moment, then added, “You are tall and have blonde hair and pretty blue eyes, so passing for an Aryan girl is not a problem. From now on, don’t ever forget: You are one of us. You must salute Heil Hitler wherever you go.”

What distinguished Rose Gluck? What made Rabbi Weill choose her to carry Nazi identification and run dangerous missions? Protected by these preferential papers, why would a Jewish girl under Nazi occupancy endanger herself to provide assistance to others? The answer comes quickly. “My mother was very selfless. She lived not for herself, but to help and serve others,” says her daughter, Mrs. Gruner. At a time when her people were hunted and oppressed, Rose’s sole focus was to help alleviate their suffering. 

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