Richard Rozen OAM
Rutherglen & Chiltern Ambassador
Born in Radom, Poland, he was six years old when he hid with his parents in a cupboard for 13 months forced eventually to move to the Lubin Ghetto when their money ran out. Destined for the Treblinka Extermination Camp, the Rozencwajg family was smuggled to the safety of a Polish village where Richard spent several months disguised as a girl using the name Marisa Ulecki.
He eventually joined his doctor father, Pincus, in the partisans and survived there for 18 months until liberation. His father was not so fortunate. He was captured by the Germans in 1944 and never seen again.
After liberation, Richard rejoined his mother, spent 3 months in a Sanatorium in Otwock, then 3 months in Lodz, then one year in a Displaced persons Camp in Stuttgart, Germany, after that, for 4 and a half years in a French orphanage.
Rozen arrived in Australian in 1951 with his mother. The 17-yr-old studied Electrical Engineering at the RMIT, establishing a chess club, founding the St Kilda Chess Club two years later on. Rozen went on to establish businesses in knitting and confectionery whilst adding bridge to his mental games ability, representing Australia in the World Bridge Championships in 1982.
He married his wife, Irene, in 1956, and has two sons and two grandchildren.
He turned his attention the Child Survivors of the Holocaust, a group he convened in 1994.
Rozen was president of the Victoria Bridge Association for 11 years and spent 10 years as a guide in the Jewish Holocaust Museum among many other worthy activities. In 1997 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to chess, bridge and the community. He is a National Chess Master, and a Bridge Grand Master.
His wartime experiences were highlighted in Jane Mark’s novel The Hidden Children and Dr Paul Valent’s Child Survivors. In 2001, Richard’s testimony was included in the Book of Life, published by the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage. Richard has been interviewed on radio, TV and media, here and USA, and has been a guest speaker on numerous occasions.
In 2005, a play based on Richard’s war experiences was staged by students of the St.Martin’s Theatre, named The Feather Body.