Vorname: Fritz Siegfried
Beruf: Prokurist / Teilhaber an einer Firma / Fabrikdirektor
Geburtsdatum: 07.11.1889 / 18.11.1889
Todesdatum: 15.03.1945 / 1944
Todesort: Auschwitz, Polen / Auschwitz-Birkenau, Polen
Vater: Roos, Bernard
Mutter: Roos, Neta, geb. NN
Wohnadresse: Untere Lichtenplatzer Str. 78;
1933 nach Holland (mit Familie);
Tilburg, Niederlande (permanent residence u. w?hrend des 2. Weltkrieges)
Haft / Internierung: Westerbork (Durchgangslager), Holland: 15.08.1944 - 03.09.1944
Deportation: Auschwitz, Polen: 03.09.1944;
von Westerbork in Holland aus
ANITA ROOS MAYER (TORONTO) In her autobiography, One Who Came Back, Anita Mayer described her wartime experiences hiding in the Netherlands, and her life in the camps. Once in Canada in 1951, Anita went forward with the goal of participating fully in the life she had been spared to live. In the Ontario town of Prescott, she served as a Girl Guide leader, Cancer Society chair, Sisterhood president, Deputy Returning Officer and for three terms as Police Commissioner. Now even more active as a speaker for the Toronto Holocaust Centre, Anita is currently writing the sequel to her first book.
Anita Mayer wrote Holocaust memoir; At Auschwitz, she bunked with fellow teen Anne Frank. In later years, she shared her story with school children
After 18 months in hiding, 19-year-old Anita Roos Mayer and her relatives were detained by the Nazis. They vowed to meet at the home of her best friend when they were freed.
On the final page of her 1981 memoir One Who Came Back, she recalled her arrival at the appointed spot nine months later, having survived the concentration camps where she bunked briefly with Anne Frank.
“During the war, when I used to visit the Evertse house, I’d ring the bell three times so Doortje and her mother would know it was me calling.
“I found myself giving the bell the same three short rings. Mrs. Evertse opened the door and said, ‘Hello Anita,’ just as if she had seen me the day before. ‘Look Doortje, who is here.’
“Doortje came running quickly to the door. ‘Oh god, you’re back again. Oh are you skinny,’ she cried out. ‘Are you the only one who came back?’
“I looked over Doortje’s shoulder into the empty living room and said, with a little difficulty, ‘I guess so.’”
Years later, it was still difficult for Mrs. Mayer to accept that her grandmother, parents, brother Bernd and cousin Hans had been killed. Hope lingered with the outgoing wife and mother long after she’d settled in Canada.
“She never knew for sure (they were dead),” said daughter Margi. “Always in the back of her mind she wondered, but as time went by …”
Until an acquaintance encouraged her to record her story, Mrs. Mayer hadn’t given her children details about the horrors of her captivity. But she found writing cathartic and began sharing her story with school children.
“She said she felt free and she never had nightmares again,” said daughter Ruth. “She said she wrote it for us kids.”
Mrs. Mayer, 77, died May 25. She’d successfully undergone surgery for an aortic aneurysm at North York General Hospital but experienced kidney failure soon after. As a result of the SARS quarantine she was unable to be transferred to another facility for dialysis and died the day a portable dialysis machine was brought in for her.
Born in Wipperthal, Germany, she was one of two children of a factory manager and homemaker. When she was 8, they moved to Tilburg, Holland.
In February, 1943, when the Germans in their town demanded their home, the Roos took refuge with a Catholic family of three. Her non-Jewish classmate Doortje would visit once a week bringing news and cigarettes. Their lives were shattered with a knock on the door Aug. 2, 1944.
In her book she recalled their journey to the camp “Bernd and I, still handcuffed, sat across from our parents. Seeing the grief and despair on my father’s face almost broke my heart. We had grown very close indeed in the hiding time, sharing many thoughts together and getting to know each other better than would have been possible in normal life. We had come so close to surviving the war.”
They were taken to the Westerbork camp in the eastern Netherlands. Here Mrs. Mayer was put to work dismantling batteries and slept near 15-year-old Anne Frank whom she recalled as “a tall pretty girl who looked very mature for her age.”
“Anne was just another teenager to her,” said Margi. “She didn’t know that she’d written a diary that would become famous.”
A month later, Mrs. Mayer was among 1,000 people loaded into trains for the 40-hour ride to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she was separated from her family, shorn bald and had digits A25205 tattooed on her forearm.
The following day she saw her brother for the last time “His head has been shaved, and his ears stick out. We move a little closer to each other. He has his arms stretched out, his hands in fists. ‘Always remember,’ he says, ‘the Nazis can hurt you from the outside but never from the inside. The war will be over in five or six weeks and I count on you and I’ll see you then.’ And away he went. I had seen Bernd for only a minute, but it had a lasting influence on my whole being. I straightened my back. I was going to give it a real fight.”
About six weeks later she was one of 300 women taken to a camp called Libau and forced into hard labour until being liberated May 8, 1945.
Mrs. Mayer reunited with paternal relatives, studied cosmetology and married a family friend. In 1951, the couple moved to Canada, settling first in Montreal, then Prescott, south of Ottawa.
In addition to raising her daughters, she sold real estate and makeup, volunteered with Girl Guides and the Canadian Cancer Society, and sat on the police commission.
After her book was published she was invited to speak across Canada and parts of the U.S. and joined the speakers’ bureau of the Holocaust Centre of Toronto (UJA Federation).
“Anita’s unique quality was her ability to communicate so effectively with everyone around her,” said Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress. “And it was this ability to communicate which helped her send a message of understanding, tolerance and hope in her work on Holocaust education.”
Mrs. Mayer moved to Toronto in 1998 after being trapped in the ice storm that hit eastern Ontario and Quebec that year, because it reminded her of the time hiding from the Germans.
“She said it was the same feeling – you couldn’t go out because it was too dangerous and there were no lights at night,” said Ruth.
Predeceased by husband Heinz, she also leaves four grandchildren and one great-grandson. A memorial will be held June 24 at 7 30 p.m. at Beth David Synagogue, 55 Yeomans Rd. in North York.