Krosberg, Josef & Esther

 Josef Krosberg: Born in Warsaw, Poland          1920
Deceased in USA                    2004
 Esther Krosberg: Born in Schiedliece, Poland    1923
Deceased in USA                    2005




   Children: Sonia, Frieda

   Grandchildren: Amy, Karen, Scott, Michael and Diana



Joseph Krosberg was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1920. His father had died a few weeks before he was born. When he was nine years old, his mother took him to Brussels, Belgium so that she could have the help of her two brothers in raising him.

Esther Krosberg was born in Schiedliece, Poland in 1923, the youngest of six children. When she was seven years old her family emigrated to Brussels. It was here that she spent the war years under an assumed identity. One traumatic day, her parents and brothers were taken away from their home; Esther watched from the safety of a local shop, whose owner had warned her not to go home.

Joseph was interned in a camp in Drancy, France for two years and then transported to Auschwitz for two-and-a-half years. During his time in the concentration camp, he worked in the coal mines. In order to get an extra piece of bread and sometimes soap, he also washed the commandant’s dog after working in the mines all day. Joseph survived Auschwitz because he was deathly ill. If not for that, he would have been forced to march away from the camps and surely would have been killed. Instead, he was left for dead and survived. He was liberated by the Russians and made his way back to Brussels, where his uncles awaited him. Sadly, he then found out that his mother had not survived the war.

Esther and Joseph met in Brussels after the war and married in 1947.They had two daughters; Sonia, the oldest one was born in Brussels while Frieda was born in Sosúa. Esther and Joseph arrived in Sosúa in April of 1953. They went to the settlement because Esther’s sister and brother-in-law, Dora and Henry Sontag, had gone to Sosúa in order to join Henry’s brother, Elie Topf; Elie had gone there at the beginning of the war. During their time in Sosúa, the family lived on Camino Llibre. Joseph worked for the CILCA, although his experience in Europe was garment cutting.

Another reason the family went to Sosúa during the post-war years was that they could not go directly to the United States. Although Joseph and Esther were raised in Belgium, they were not Belgian citizens. As a result, they were considered Polish citizens, and the United States had a quota limiting the number of Polish immigrants allowed into the country.

A family friend born in Belgium helped them with the process of obtaining a resident permit for the family. They started to apply for entry to the United States shortly after they arrived in Sosúa. The biggest hold-up was the fact that Frieda was born in the Dominican Republic, and the government did not want to let a native-born leave.

The family did eventually leave Sosúa in 1957 for New York, where Joseph returned to his field of garment cutting. Esther had never been happy in Sosúa, as the hot weather caused her many problems.  Furthermore, living under a dictatorship also worried the family a great deal. However, once they departed they did not miss Sosúa as much as they missed the friends and family they were leaving behind. 

Sonia always told people that, for a child, it was a little paradise. Four hours of school in the morning, leisure time and the beach the rest of the day. The education children received in Sosúa was from highly educated European professors. This was very uncommon, especially when compared to the education prevalent in the United States during that same period. When Sonia arrived in the United States she entered the 4th grade in New York City. She already knew a foreign language, all the bones in the body, and had a little bit of knowledge about botany and zoology.

Joseph passed away in October 2004, and Esther followed 10 months later. Both died in the United States.


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