Seeing a mix of letters and numbers tattooed on your grandparents’ forearm is something you never forget. My grandmother, Ella (Lucak) Rogozinski, has a number. It is A5674. My grandfather, Jakob Rogozinski, was given the number 56512. As I started to create The Jakob and Ella Legacy Collection, the numbers that make these tattoos are fading. They are symbols of the horrific atrocity known as the Holocaust.
My grandfather Jakob, of blessed memory, passed away when I was four years old. He was an incredible role model to my entire family. He was strong, tireless, principled, and had an unparalleled work ethic. His legacy lives on in all our hearts. My memory is filled with remarkable images of an indomitable grandmother whose mantra includes “family is the most important thing.” She loved to cook dishes from her hometown of Svalava, Czechoslovakia, fly her American flag, learn English (one of eight languages she speaks), and educate her three sons, 11 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Following the traumatic experience that Ella endured throughout her four years in the concentration camps, she chose to lecture and speak on the topics of love, tolerance, and human kindness. She always impresses those that meet her. Ella spoke for over thirty years at churches, synagogues, universities, and schools. I couldn’t be more proud of her courage and resilience.
The Jakob and Ella Legacy Collection is created to perpetuate the hopes, dreams, and memories of all who survived the Holocaust and the millions who perished. I stand here today as a 3rd Generation of two inspiring individuals who survived. I want to preserve their legacies and stories. Wearing a piece of Holocaust Remembrance Jewelry will allow us to honor them and to keep the conversation alive.
As I move forward with the collection, I will be giving back to support continuing Holocaust education and scholarships.
“…the number is the story”™