Rosa Rosenstein -- Living with History

The story of a Berlin-born Jewish woman who lived through the turbulent times of Imperial Germany, the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich, all while growing up, falling in love and starting a family. With charming snapshots of holidays, kindergartens and Purim parties, Rosa shows us how integrated, assimilated Jewish families lived in Germany then.

In 1939, a few weeks after the war had started, her Hungarian husband Michi insisted on fleeing to Budapest, where he felt they would be safe. They weren't. Both Michi and Rosa were arrested and put in a camp, and Michi perished in a forced labor brigade. Rosa survived by hiding in Budapest -- but not until she sent her two daughters off to Palestine and saw them safe.

After the war, Rosa married a Viennese Jewish man, Alfred Rosenstein, and started another family in Vienna. Her son Georg moved to Israel, where he began a family of his own and lived for a long time before finally moving back to Austria. Rosa Rosenstein lived until she was ninety-eight years old, and died in 2005.

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Rosa Rosenstein was born in Berlin in 1907 before World War I. On June 28, 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in Sarajevo, sparking World War I. (See the film footage of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's July 1914 funeral.)

Ferdinand’s assassination by the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist secret society, created a series of chain reactions that culminated in the world’s first global war. To read more on the several events that led to World War I such as Austria-Hungary’s reaction to the death of Ferdinand, click here.

You can find a series of useful articles here about the World War I from the BBC, ranging in topics from the descent into war, campaigns and battles, the human experience of the war and on the debates and controversies in the aftermath of World War I. You can also map out the main events of the war.

How did World War I end? On November 11 1918, representatives from the Allies and Germany signed the Armistice of Compiègne (named after the location in which it was signed). An armistice is an agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a certain time. In this armistice the conditions ended Germany’s possibility of continuing the war and was effectively a German surrender.

A Peace Conference held in Paris between January 1919 and January 1920 shaped the peace process. Throughout this conference separate peace treaties were established with each of the defeated nations. The most significant treaty was drawn up with Germany, signed on 28 June 1919 and is called the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles had several conditions including: the drastic reduction in the size of the German Army, Germany stripped of all its colonies and Germany’s responsibility for reparations.

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