Survivors' Stories

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
Elie Wiesel

Rita King

  • From: Poland (Krasnik)
  • Liberated from: Czechoslovakia (Therezienstadt)
  • Deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau from: Poland (Plaszow)
  • Current Location: USA (NY- Queens)

Brief Bio

I was born in Krasnik,Poland to a large Betar family.  My father was a carpenter. We had a happy life. I went to school and loved math.  I played with friends. We Jews kept to ourselves, but got along nicely with our non Jewish neighbors.   

When the war started and the Nazi occupation took hold, my father no longer had work.  We starved. 

My family was deported after Passover.  My parents sent me off the line to find my sister.  They said they would write. They went to Belzec.

There were many instances where I narrowly escaped capture. I hid in the woods. Eventually I was sent to Budzyn, but my sister asked  the kommidant of the Krasnik ghetto to bring me there. I worked there until I was sent to Plaszow.

After liberation I went to  Salzheim and prepared for Aliyah Bet (the move to the Land of Israel.)  Fearing war, I boarded a refugee ship to the United States-seen off by Eleanor Roosevelt.  In New York I lived with relatives. When I met my husband Barry King, a survivor, and had my three daughters, a new life began.

What does Auschwitz mean to you?

Auschwitz was the worst place I have ever been.  So many were killed. I was in a tent for days, a barrack with lice and a crowded bed with a few pieces of straw.  They cut hair, gave torn clothes for rain and cold and wooden shoes that stuck in the mud.  It is the  most evil place in the world. 

My message for future generations is…

We have to create a world where this never happens to anyone ever again.  I would not want any human being to have to go through this. 

Who will be accompanying you on this journey?

My daughter Carol King Berkman will be my companion.  Three of my grandchildren, Meir , Chana and Shira Berkman will be joining as well.

I am being accompanied by the loves of my life.  My daughter and my grandchildren are my future, our future.