November 29, 2020

Kislev 13, 5781


Leo Rosenfeld


Kislev 5, 5768

December 1, 1922 to November 15, 2007

Leo Rosenfeld was a lover and a fighter. Leo loved music, the beach, and the United States of America. Leo was a lifelong lover of learning. But most of all, Leo loved his family: past, present, and future. Leo Rosenfeld was a student when Poland fell; he quickly assessed the situation and fled Warsaw. Leo left to fight. "I was never scared. What choice? Fight to live." Leo joined the Jewish Partisans in the forests and fought to live. Leo Rosenfeld commanded a fighting unit of 10 men. At night they swam the Vitsula (using reeds as snorkels) to steal German weapons, ammunition, and uniforms, from the Nazi supply dumps on the shore. For five years they waged Guerrilla Warfare against the Nazis. Leo was wounded in battle on multiple occasions, and with his men faced starvation, disease, and near certain death. Of the 10 men in Leo's unit only 3 were alive at the end of the war. Leo lost his entire family to the Nazis. By 1943 only he and his beloved sister Franka were still alive. Leo bribed wall guards so he could enter the Warsaw Ghetto to visit his big sister, every chance he could. Franka, a member of Z.O.B. fell in battle (Pesach, 1943) engaging a Panzer with Molotov Cocktails. Franka should be remembered in her own right (like all the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising) for her bravery and humanity. After the War, Leo would meet the love of his life, Regina (a survivor of Gross-Rosen) at the Displaced Persons Camp at Bergen-Belsen. They were married and actually had their first child in that former death camp. Leo moved his young family to the United States, settling in New Jersey. He taught himself to read English with the New York Times. Leo and Regina lived the American dream; they worked hard, paid their mortgage and were the proud parents of two daughters, Helen and JoAnn. Leo is survived not only by his girls but by his 5 grandchildren and a growing number of great-grandchildren. That is Leo's legacy, the pride he inspires in future generations, which if not for his bravery, would not exist. In his own words, "I won, not that bastard Hitler. I have kids and grandkids, I won." And because he did, so do we.