I was born Celia Landman on August 24, 1923, in Pulawy, Poland, a small town near Lublin. My parents were Szyja Landman and Matla Weinberg Landman. I was the youngest of eight children, six sisters and two brothers - Rojsa, Johevet, Paola, Rachel, Chana, Jehudah, and Eliahu. Mother took care of us while Father worked as the Expeditor in the train station in nearby Lublin. I started school when I was six years old and was placed in the second grade.
In 1937 I went to live with my sister in Lublin to attend the gymnasium. When the war broke out in September of 1939, I was sixteen years old. The Germans occupied Lublin, and I could no longer attend school. The Germans made all Jewish people wear yellow stars. They also forced all Jews out of their homes to live in a special section of the city where conditions were poor and there was very little food.
When I returned to my sister’s home to get some food we had set aside, a Polish family was living there. The woman threatened to have the Gestapo come and kill me if I didn’t leave. With my blonde hair and blue eyes, I could pass as a Pole. I tried not to wear the yellow star when I tried a second time to get some food. This time a former neighbor pointed me out to the SS. Upon learning of this, my mother sent me in 1940 to her brother’s house in Mizocz, in the Russian-occupied eastern part of Poland, close to the Ukraine.
In 1941 the Germans took over all of Poland and set up the Mizocz Ghetto. I worked hard cleaning for German officers who hit me if something - anything at all - was disliked. I was hit plenty. This I remember. Still I remember.
When the Ghetto was liquidated and most of its residents murdered, I ran to Zalesie where a Polish farmer hid me in a potato cellar. I stayed there a whole year until the farmer became too frightened and asked me to leave. I hid then in a forest until the war’s end.
Later I found out that from the original ten members of my family only five had survived.
After I met and married Samuel Rojzman, (see also Samuel Rojzman), we lived in two DP camps. Martha was born in Eschwege, Germany in October, 1946, where we lived until 1949. We were on our way to Israel when I went into early labor. We were taken off the train in Munich, Germany, and Rose was born in August, 1949. We lived in a DP camp in Munich until 1950 when we came to Rochester, New York.
Samuel worked for Xerox for twenty years and I at Projansky’s for twenty seven years. We became active in survivor organizations and would lead the annual Yom HaShoah Holocaust Commemoration Service in Rochester. We felt it important that everyone should be aware of what the Holocaust was and how the Jewish people must fight for their freedom. On June 2,1975 Samuel passed away.
Eight years later on September 11, 1983, I married Irving Simon (see also Irving Simon). We had twenty-two years together, now with five children and eight grandchildren in our blended family. Each year Irving and I would lead the Yom HaShoah Commemoration to bring awareness to the Holocaust.
Note: Celia Rojzman Simon died on October 30, 2005. Celia has three grandchildren and four great grandchildren. She will always be missed. May her memory be a blessing.
Biography written by Rose Rojzman Bernstein, daughter