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Ariela Rojek

Ariela Rojek describes her father's arrest, and how her mother tried unsuccessfully to secure his release.

Ariela Rojek, nee Löwenthal, was born in Przemysl Poland in 1933. She was the only child of Yehuda Löwenthal and Olga Löwenthal, nee Langsom. Her father worked for the family business in which they operated a restaurant and beer franchise. She grew up in a well-off family and was afforded the luxuries of material items and home care by a gentile nanny. However, in 1939, her life changed. Originally grateful to be in the Russian occupied part of Przemysl, her family was shocked by the displacement imposed on them by the Russians. 

The start of German occupation resulted in a demand for all Jewish valuables. Shortly after, in November of 1941, her father, uncle, and grandfather were taken by the Gestapo. Her mother desperately tried to save them by giving valuables to a German Wermacht soldier in exchange for their release. However, in April 1942, they were transported to a jail in Montelupich. In the same month the Ghetto in Przemysl was formed. Liquidations began and Ariela’s mother and grandmother were taken. She was adopted by her father’s sister. Her uncle and aunt hoped to send Ariela to a Covent, but were unsuccessful. Later they discovered that the nuns from the Covent gave the Jewish children to the Germans, and they were all murdered.  

In June of 1943 Ariela and her adopted parents were transported to Bergen-Belsen, where her uncle died of a heart attack. Ariela and her aunt survived Bergen-Belsen from June of 1943 until April of 1945. Both were sick and felt too weak to leave the camp in March of 1945, but decided it was their best chance of survival. They marched for a month until they were liberated by the Americans. After liberation Ariela was unconscious for three weeks with a high fever.  

She eventually gained her strength back and moved to Israel. She immigrated to Canada in 1967 with her husband, Moshe Rojek.  Ariela is still alive and active in Toronto.  

Ariela Rojek

They were dragging my father away and my mother ran after them. Where are you taking him? Where are you taking him? So they kicked her, gave her a big kick and they threw her to the other side of the stairways and she got hit on her head. They took him away and it was the last time I saw him.