Rose Scooler was born in 1881, in East Prussia. When she was in her early teens the family moved to Berlin. After a year in Switzerland, Rose became engaged to Sidney Scooler, the son of family friends. The marriage took place shortly before Rose’s eighteenth birthday.
Sidney, who was considerably older than his wife, owned a cardboard factory in Porschendorf, near Pirna, in Saxony. The couple had two sons, Werner and Walter, who ran the factory after Sidney died in 1928. It was a flourishing concern. However, in 1938 the business was ‘aryanised’ – taken over at the price of about 10% of its actual value.
Werner then moved to Dresden. But in 1941 he was taken first to Riga, and from there to Auschwitz. Walter (who had obtained false papers stating he had some Aryan blood) moved to Berlin with Rose. Eventually he was drafted into a forced labour unit attached to the army.
Once she was no longer with Walter, Rose’s position became precarious. She was transported to Theresienstadt in January 1944, and worked in the camp’s ‘home’ for the elderly, and later in a workshop splitting mica. It was here she composed and memorised poems as a way of enduring long, monotonous and long shifts. But this labour saved her life. Mica was used in the making of planes; those who prepared it were spared deportation. Rose Scooler was one of the relatively small number of inmates still alive when the camp was liberated in May 1945.
Subsequently Rose spent two years in a Displaced Persons Camp in Bavaria. Then, after a short period in England, she joined Walter in the U.S.A.
Rose lived to the age of 103, and did voluntary work until her late nineties. Her Theresienstadt poems were discovered after Walter died in 2006.
– from Sibyl Ruth’s introduction in MPT 3/10 The Big Green Issue