Rose Zyndorf was a Jewish teenager living in Dombrov, Poland, in dangerous times. She was 16 in 1939, as World War II was beginning.
Her entire family was soon forced into concentration camps by the Nazis. Of her parents and their five daughters, only she and younger sister Jenny survived, said son Michael Zyndorf, of Egg Harbor Township.
The talented seamstress and former Egg Harbor Township chicken farmer died last month at 89, just four weeks after her eldest son, Theodore Zyndorf, of Egg Harbor Township, died of multiple myeloma at 62. She had lived with Alzheimer’s disease for about 10 years.
Rose met her husband, Icek Zyndorf, after being liberated by the Russians from Theresienstadt in Terezin, Czechoslovakia, in May 1945.
“The Russian army opened up the warehouses that the Germans had their supplies stored in and told them to take anything they wanted,” Michael said. Rose chose fabric to make new beautiful new dresses for Jenny and a cousin who also survived the camp, as well as for herself and friends. They were finally able to get out of the uniforms that marked them as prisoners.
Icek Zyndorf was a survivor of Dachau in Germany, whose first wife and two daughters were killed in the camps, Michael said. Theodore was born in a displaced-persons camp in Germany in 1950, and Michael in 1954 after the family emigrated to rural Atlantic County to become chicken farmers on English Creek Road in the McKee City section of the township.
“All the newcomers used to have a farm,” said Rose’s longtime friend Hanna Ehrlich, 88, of Margate, a survivor of Auschwitz in Poland. Ehrlich was a chicken farmer in Mays Landing for a decade, then went into the furniture business.
“In fact, the synagogue that our husbands built was called the Jewish Farmers Congregation,” Ehrlich said. “The Zyndorfs lived just across the street. They took good care of it.”
Ehrlich said Rose was a friendly woman as well as a great cook and hostess.
The Zyndorfs retired from farming in the 1970s, Michael said. Rose worked for a while in a local clothing factory and did alterations for friends. She then helped Theodore raise his daughter — her only grandchild, Barbara Samm Frank, M.D., of Boston — after his divorce.
Ehrlich said it is sad to see so many survivors succumb to age, but she considers herself, and Rose, fortunate.
“After such a Holocaust, we lived to our 80s. We are so lucky,” she said.
A Life Lived appears Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Contact Michelle Brunetti Post: