Someone brought it to my attention that one of the 42nd Rainbow Division soldiers who helped to liberate Dachau was Staff Sgt. John N. Petro, 232 Infantry, E Company. He brought home photos which can be seen here on a web site put up by Bill Petro in John Petro’s honor. (more…)
May 19, 2010
In the recent news on the Internet, there are a lot of articles about Rosemarie Pence, who allegedly survived the Dachau concentration camp and went on to become an Olympic athlete. It has now been revealed that Rosemarie’s story is total fiction, but for years, people believed her and she earned fees for speaking to students in American schools. A book about her, entitled From Dachau to the Olympics and Beyond was written by Jean Goodwin Messinger and published in 2005.
Rosemarie claims that her birth name was Hannah and that she is Jewish; she told the author of the book that she was sent to Dachau when she was three years old. Rosemarie is now 72 years old, so she was born in 1938 and she was allegedly sent to Dachau in 1941 at the age of three.
Here is a tip for future authors of Holocaust survivor stories: If a female Holocaust survivor claims that she was sent to Dachau in 1941 at the age of three, don’t believe it. Dachau was mainly a camp for men; there were very few children there until the very last days before the camp was liberated when children from other camps were brought to Dachau.
The Nazis did not begin rounding up all the Jews to send them to camps until February 1942, after the Wannsee Conference which took place on January 20, 1942. The Jews were sent to camps in the East in 1942, not to Dachau, which was a camp mainly for political prisoners. It turns out that Rosemarie Pence is not even Jewish.
Rosemarie has a scar on her arm which she claims is from the removal of her tattoo. Only prisoners at Auschwitz were tattooed with a number. The old black and white photo on the cover of Messinger’s book shows child survivors of Auschwitz, but I’m not sure if Rosemarie claimed to have been in Auschwitz. (I haven’t read the book.)
Even though it was obvious to anyone who knows anything about the Holocaust that Rosemarie’s story was fiction, it took five years or more before she was exposed as a fraud.
The moral of this story is: Use your heads, people! If a story sounds unbelievable, it is most likely false. Don’t fall for every Holocaust survivor story that you hear.