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Martin Rosenfeld

Martin Rosenfeld was born on September 3, 1912 in Gherla, Romania. We do not know many details about his experiences during the war since he rarely spoke of it and never had an opportunity to provide testimony or submit an application for reparations from the Conference on Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) prior to his death in 1987. However, a prisoner card bearing his name (spelled Marton), with his birthdate and place of birth, in Yad Vashem's Central Database, indicates that he arrived at Auschwitz on May 5, 1944, and was transferred to Mauthausen, in Austria, on February 17, 1945, as the Nazis evacuated prisoners Westward in the waning days of the war. The "Häftlings-Personal-Karte" in Yad Vashem's collection identifies him as prisoner number 131859 and "Ungarn Jude," a Hungarian Jew.


Martin had three brothers and one sister who survived the war but his wife and young son were murdered upon arrival at Auschwitz. When Martin returned home after liberation, he remarried, to Sylvia Friedman, a fellow survivor from the region. They had one son, Ervin. In December 1964, the Rosenfeld emigrated from Romania, first traveling by train to Italy, where they stayed for almost two years.

A letter issued by the German embassy in Rome on May 26, 1965, when the Rosenfelds were living at Via Agostino Depretis 77, declares that Martin was prisoner number A14019 at Auschwitz. The letter includes a photo of Martin displaying that number tattooed on his left arm.

In December 1966, with the help of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the Rosenfelds emigrated to America. There they lived in the Boro Park neighborhood of Brooklyn among many other Holocaust survivors and established a richer and more secure Jewish life for their family.

Postcrypt: Although we do not know the name of Martin Rosenfeld's first wife, data on his prisoner card suggests it was Szeren Abraham, and the name of his son who perished at Auschwitz, Naftali, is inscribed at the bottom of his tombstone at the New Montifiore Cemetery in Long Island, New York.

Ervin Rosenfeld, the son of Sylvia and Martin, married Clara Fischer, also the child of Holocaust survivors from Romania whose family had emigrated to America in 1963 with the help of HIAS and settled in Brooklyn. They had three daughters, the oldest being Heschel parent and Holocaust Commemoration Committee member Jeannie Rosenfeld Fisher, and have seven grandchildren, including Heschel students Sophie, Elizabeth and Henry Fisher.