This year for Refugee Week, we decided to ask some of the Nisa-Nashim women to share with us their personal stories. We have many women in our network whose families came as refugees to Britain and who have made a life here. These are wonderful stories, tales of real life which need to be told.
Here is Doreen’s story, and the one of Grandma Rosie.
Doreen tells us :
“Rosie begged and pleaded. Pleaded and begged. She was only 21, but had a maturity and authority that even her magisterial father couldn’t ignore. But her older sister, Manya, was already married, with two little children, and her husband, Eliezere, was unmoved. ‘Why on earth would anyone in their right mind move to England? Yes, it’s really tough here, but how do you know it won’t be just as bad there? And I only speak Yiddish – I have never even managed to learn Polish. No – you and the rest of your crazy family can go if you like, but we are staying.’
And stay they did. My amazing Grandma brought out her parents and four siblings safely to England in 1911. Manya, her husband and two children were eventually taken out into a forest and shot.
And then, as if Rosie wasn’t s/hero enough, she managed to ‘rescue’ her husband’s niece from Poland, on the eve of WW2, though was devastated to be unable to save the rest. There are dozens of us alive today who owe our lives to Grandma Rosie”.