Rose Meth

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Rose Grunapfel Meth (1919 – October 2013),[1] born as Ruzia Grunapfel, also known as Reisel Grunapfel Meth, was a surviving participant in the October 7, 1944 "Sonderkommando uprising" of inmates in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. She was born in Zator, Poland.[2]

Grunapfel Meth was among the forced labor workers in the Union munitions factory. Her role[3][4] in the preparations for the uprising was to smuggle gunpowder out of the "Pulverraum", where she and several other women worked making bomb detonators. She was a very close friend of Elizabeth Wajcblum; people often mistook them for sisters. She, Estusia, Regina Safirsztajn, and a woman named Genia Fischer worked together to sneak the powder out concealed in kerchiefs stuffed into a pocket or their bosom. Often there were searches; to avoid discovery, they would dump the powder out onto the ground and rub it into the earth with their feet.[5] Following the investigation of the uprising, four of the women conspirators were interrogated and tortured, then condemned to death. On January 5, 1945, Ruzia was forced to watch the executions of Estusia, Regina, Roza Robota and Ala Gertner.[6] She ultimately survived a death march.

While in the camp, she traded bread for paper so that she could write notes while in Auschwitz, in order to bear witness later, heeding her father's admonition to remember what happened. Some of the surviving notes are in the archives at Yad Vashem.[7]

Grunapfel Meth arrived in the U.S.A. in 1946 aboard the first civilian ship from Europe since the end of World War II. Subsequently, she settled in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, married Irving Meth, and raised three sons. She spent the last ten years of her life in Kew Gardens Hills, New York.

She died in October 2013. In 2016 her children and grandchildren dedicated a song in her memory, "Rose Meth, The Unsung Heroine" .


  1. ^ U.S.A. Citizenship Certificate. (Family Document)
  2. ^ Rittner & Roth. Different Voices (Paragon House: 1993) p. 132ff. ISBN 1-55778-503-1
  3. ^ Rittner & Roth. Different Voices (Paragon House: 1993) p. 132ff. ISBN 1-55778-503-1
  4. ^ Rittner & Roth. Different Voices (Paragon House: 1993) p. 136ff. ISBN 1-55778-503-1
  5. ^ Guttman. Smoke and Ashes: The Story of Auschwitz-Birkenau, (Sifriyat Poalim: 1957) p. 133.
  6. ^ Rittner & Roth. Different Voices (Paragon House: 1993) p. 139ff. ISBN 1-55778-503-1
  7. ^ Rittner & Roth. Different Voices (Paragon House: 1993) p. 140. ISBN 1-55778-503-1

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