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Yad Vashem No Child's Play

Ghettos and Camps

Zuzia

Zuzia
Zuzia
Zofia at age eight
Zofia at age eight

Zofia Rosner or Yael - the Hebrew name she adopted after the war - was a little girl during the Holocaust. The Nazis had taken her father in the early days of the occupation, and she and her mother were incarcerated in the Warsaw ghetto. Yael’s mother was connected to the underground and became involved in smuggling activities. She would disappear for several days at a time, leaving the little girl alone. The mother found a doll’s head, and created the doll for her daughter. She sewed on the fabric to make the dress and gave it to the little girl. "You take care of your daughter during the day", she told her. The doll, Zuzia, became Yael’s only companion and she developed a special bond with her. Zuzia was her friend, her confidante, and her family during the lonely and frightening time that she spent alone, hiding in the cellar somewhere in the ghetto. One day, Yael’s mother did not return, but instead arranged for a Polish boy to enter the ghetto and bring out her daughter. The boy put the little girl into a sack with coals and wanted to smuggle her out. On the way, the little girl began to scream: "I forgot my doll". The boy, of course, enraged, said a few choice things to the little girl, but she insisted: "Mothers do not leave their daughters in the ghetto”. The boy decided to return to the ghetto and to fetch the doll. Yael survived, but her story had a sad ending. Her father was murdered and although the mother survived the war, she died shortly afterwards. The little girl reached Israel and the doll became part of her life, part of the memories of her family, part of the past in the ghetto.