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Robert Tanen bought his wife Meredith a chaplet for her aftermost birthday. He hoped she would like it, but aback she opened the box, her affecting acknowledgment surpassed annihilation Tanen had imagined.
“My wife bankrupt bottomward in tears and hugged me tighter than anytime before. She had a actual belly and able acknowledgment aback she saw what was inside,” Tanen said.
What she saw was a platinum alternation with a disc chaplet engraved with a alternation of digits: 94980. It was her backward grandfathering Abraham Stein’s Holocaust number, the one assigned to him by the Nazis.
“Meredith wears the chaplet every day. She was actual abutting with her grandfather,” said Tanen, who lives in Boynton Beach, Florida and is Southeast bounded administrator for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Robert and Meredith Tanen. Meredith wears the Jakob Ella chaplet with her grandfather’s Holocaust cardinal accustomed to her by Robert. (Courtesy)
The chaplet is allotment of a accumulating of Holocaust afterthought adornment by Jakob Ella Jewelry, a aggregation founded in 2017 by Dana Rogozinski, the Jacksonville, Florida-based granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. A allocation of the gain of every acquirement from the aggregation is donated adjoin Holocaust apprenticeship and scholarships for Poland trips for students.
Dana Rogozinski (right) with her grandmother Ella Lucak Rogozinski in 2015. (Courtesy)
The abstraction for necklaces, bracelets and belt links featuring numbers that were tattooed into the forearms of Nazi absorption affected inmates came to Rogozinski while alive at a start-up in Beersheva, Israel, for a year and missing her grandmother, Ella Lucak Rogozinski. The nonagenarian was aback in Florida and adversity from dementia.
“I couldn’t see my Nana Ella every day aback I was in Israel and I absolutely absent her. I capital a way to feel like she was with me all the time,” Rogozinski said.
Rogozinski, 28, anticipation about how afterwards a continued post-war silence, her grandmother had added afresh amorphous administration her Holocaust testimony. She consistently showed the boom on her arm, application it as a chat amateur as she batten with individuals or groups.
“I was acquainted of the abnormality of bodies accepting tattooed with their Holocaust survivor ancestor or grandparent’s cardinal as a way of anniversary them and assiduity the anamnesis of the Holocaust, but that wasn’t for me,” Rogozinski said.
It’s additionally not article abounding added Jews are agog on, accustomed that the Nazis approved to dehumanize Jews by tattooing them, and due to prohibitions adjoin tattooing in the Jewish tradition.
She absitively a added applicable way to account her grandmother and her bequest was to appearance adornment with her number: Her grandmother had formed in a Jacksonville adornment abundance for 50 years afterwards accession in the US in 1959.
Ella Lucak and Jakob Rogozinski at their bells in 1949. (Courtesy of Dana Rogozinski)
Completely self-taught, Ella Rogozinski talked her way into a career of designing, authoritative and acclimation jewelry. Initially a cleaner at the store, she assertive the er to acquiesce her to try to fix a burst fiber of chaplet that no one abroad had been able to.
“She fabricated a accord with them that if she did a acceptable job on the pearls, they would accord her a job ambidextrous with the jewelry. She anchored the pearls,” Rogozinski said.
The aboriginal numbers Rogizinski acclimated in designing her adornment were those of her grandmother (A5674) and her grandfathering Jakob Rogozinski (56512), who died in 1994 aback the artist was actual young. She called the aggregation for the two of them.
Jakob and Ella Rogozinski affiliated aural two weeks of affair in a Displaced Persons affected in Germany in 1949. Jakob was built-in in Sieradz, Poland (near Lodz) in 1916. During the war, he initially served in the Polish army afore actuality beatific to Auschwitz. He was eventually absolved at the end of the war from a subcamp of the Gross-Rosen absorption camp.
Ella, who was built-in in Svalava, Czechoslovakia in 1927, was abandoned to the Budapest Ghetto, and from there to Auschwitz. Adjoin the end of the war, she was affected on a afterlife advance to Bergen-Belsen, area she was absolved on May 4, 1944. She survived the war calm with two earlier sisters.
“Their boom numbers are consecutive,” Rogozinski said.
From left: Helen Lucak Pollan, Olga Lucak Tyson, and Ella Lucak Rogozinski in Jacksonville, Florida, about 1959. (Courtesy of Dana Rogozinski)
Ella, her sisters and an aunt were the alone survivors of the Lucak family. Alone Jakob and one of his brothers survived. The couple, who absent 75 ancestors amid them, immigrated to Israel in 1949, area they lived until 1959, aback they abutting Ella’s sisters and their families in Jacksonville. The sisters remained actual close, adopting their families aural one aboveboard mile of one another.
Jakob Ella Adornment belt links with Holocaust number. (Courtesy Jakob Ella Jewelry)
Jakob Ella pieces, which are bogus in California, don’t alone affection Holocaust numbers. One armlet has an astern enamel-covered triangle that can be ordered in altered colors. The astern triangle was allotment of a absorption affected captive identification arrangement acclimated by the Nazis. Yellow was for Jews, red for political prisoners, dejected for adopted affected laborers, amethyst for Jehovah’s Witnesses, and blush for uals.
There is additionally a armlet with an upside bottomward “B” identical to the one in the abominable “Arbeit Macht Frei” assurance aloft the gates to Auschwitz. Aback ordered by the SS to accomplish the sign, the prisoners — in an act of affront — addled the letter.
Upside bottomward B armlet by Jakob Ella Jewelry. (Courtesy of Jakob Ella Jewelry)
Rogozinski beneath to altercate revenues or s volume, but she aggregate that the upside bottomward B bracelets are big sellers, as are pieces customized with specific Holocaust numbers.
Some barter already apperceive the cardinal they appetite on the adornment — either from a admired one’s tattoo, or through research. Tanen, for example, abstruse his wife’s grandfather’s cardinal (which had not been tattooed on him) by abutting his mother-in-law with United States Holocaust Memorial Museum advisers who aggregate with her abstracts from the International Tracing Service (a massive annal in Germany absolute a amazing bulk of Nazi-created actual on their victims, best of it calm by Allied armament as they absolved Europe, alpha in 1943.)
Jakob Ella Adornment chaplet with Holocaust number. (Courtesy of Jakob Ella Jewelry)
However, it should not be affected that anybody affairs this adornment (priced amid $55 and $2,000) has a ancestors affiliation to the Holocaust, or is alike Jewish.
Idan Nashnaz, 28, an electrical architect from Beersheva bought one of Rogozinki’s necklaces afterwards seeing a column about Jakob Ella on Facebook. He asked Rogozinski to accept a Holocaust victim’s cardinal for him.
Dachau certificate in International Tracing Service annal assuming Holocaust survivor Abraham Steins’s number. (Courtesy of Robert Tanen)
“My ancestors is Persian. We accept no ancestors who were anon complex in the Holocaust. But as a Jew growing up in Israel, the Holocaust is with you all the time — from kindergarten to the army,” he said.
As she does for anniversary piece, Rogozinski conducted analysis for Nashnaz’s chaplet application accessible assets from USHMM, Yad Vashem and the Shoah Foundation, advancing a “legacy card” she places in the box with the jewelry.
“Dana aggregate the adventure of the man who had this cardinal and died in Treblinka, but I chose not to apperceive his name. The adventure is added important, and I acquaint it to the abounding bodies who apprehension the chaplet and ask me about it,” Nashnaz said.
Kevin Lewis, 55, from Houston, Texas proudly wears his belt links with Jakob Rogozinski’s boom cardinal with his French belt shirts. Lewis, who works in accumulated security, happened to be continuing in band abaft Rogozinski at the access to USHMM on a appointment to Washington, DC and noticed her characteristic necklace.
“When she told me what the numbers were and about her company, I anticipation it was the best arresting idea. I had to be allotment of it,” said Lewis, who is not Jewish.
Lucak ancestors afore WWII: (From left) Olga, Fanny, Ella, Helen, Adolf. Alone the three daughters survived the Holocaust. (Courtesy of Dana Rogozinski)
“Every time I abrasion the belt links, no amount area I am, bodies animadversion on them and I acquaint them the adventure abaft them,” he said.
This was absolutely Rogozinski’s absorbed aback she started Jakob Ella at this time aback the cardinal of actual Holocaust survivors is dwindling.
“I capital the adornment to atom conversations to ensure that the Holocaust will be remembered and not denied. It’s a way of teaching to ensure it never happens again,” she said.
Rogozinski accepted that critics may acquisition her adornment morbid, but insisted they are missing the point.
Jakob Ella Adornment disc chaplet chaplet with Holocaust number. (Courtesy of Jakob Ella Jewelry)
When she looks at the number, she sees not alone what took abode during the war, but additionally what happened afore and afterwards it. It’s the anamnesis of people’s lives afore the Nazis and their atrocities, and the survivors’ animation in architecture new lives afterwards such abundant loss.
Like all survivors, Rogozinski’s grandmother will die, and her boom will be active forth with her. However, her cardinal will survive as a allotment of adornment to be anesthetized bottomward as a ancestors heirloom.
Rogozinski loves her Nana Ella so abundant that she called her aggregation afterwards her, but she believes it is her cardinal that will best bolster her story.
“A name chaplet would not atom as abounding — or the kinds of — conversations that charge to happen,” Rogozinski said.
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