Singing For Her Captors


RARITAN TWP. — Judith Schneiderman still remembers her disappointment when she told the handsome, polite officer that she and her older sister Frieda weren’t twins. Since they weren’t, the girls were shoved toward the bathhouses and ordered to strip for their showers.

Their heads were shaved and they were tossed long, gray dresses. At this point in the book “I Sang to Survive,” the reader realizes how lucky Judith, three of her sisters and a best friend were. Her mother, two younger sisters and father had been separated upon the family’s arrival at Auschwitz, never to be seen again.

But instead of focusing on the horror, Schneiderman quickly launches into a description of the beautiful women who served as the kappo, the Jewish police. She tells how the girls pass the glare of a barracks window and see their reflections. She can’t tell which one she is and whispers to Frieda to raise her hand to clear the confusion. Then the girl who was then Judith Rosenberg of Rachov, Czechoslovakia, laughs, saying, “Oh my God, that one is me?”

Since 1951 Schneiderman and her husband Paul — they met at a displaced persons camp following their liberation — have lived in Raritan Township. About 10 years ago she decided it was time — for her four children and nine grandchildren — to write her story. She wanted it to be “different” from so many of the books she’s read by Holocaust survivors.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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