The place is Amsterdam, Holland. In a Europe that is torn apart by a Nazi regime, Sonja is forced to come to grips with unbelievable losses. Her husband, her mother and father, her younger sister, her way of life, all by the age of twenty two.
Sonja's story has been written in the book, Never Surrender! a true story, by her daughter Liliane Pelzman. It is Liliane's words that are offered in this Playback of her mother's story.
Cover of Never Surrender Liliane Pelzman
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Liliane Pelzman at Los Angeles Book Fair
While Sonja's story is told here in Playback, it is merely an introduction to a very complicated story--the type of horrendous story that only a gruesome war can produce. From Amsterdam to concentration camps, to forced labor in the Polish countryside to what seems like an endless wandering back to Amsterdam and a new beginning, it was Sonja's love of her family and her dear beloved Herman that kept her alive. However, it was also her conviction and belief in the goodness of others that bore testimony to her moral fortitude recognizing that one can not surrender even when faced with the most adverse circumstances.
Going Further Back in Time
In 1943 in Holland, on a cold February morning, Sonja Cohen Rosenstein and Herman Rosenstein, high school sweethearts, twenty years old and newly married, boarded a train bound for the town of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia.
They were madly in love. They knew no fear and no anxiety. They were full of hope and optimism about the future and ready for an adventure. They thought they were going to a work camp a few months. Instead, Herman was killed and Sonja returned from Auschwitz. This is her story.