Rose Sherman Williams was born in Radom, Poland in 1927. In 1939, when she was twelve years old, Nazis invaded. In 1942, she was separated from her family and sent to Auschwitz, then to Bergen-Belsen. In 1945, she was liberated by British soldiers, and today tells her tale to the last generation who will know a Holocaust survivor.
Letters to Rose was compiled over several years, and expresses the instant and enduring bond between young students and a courageous, resilient woman. Some drew from her strength and found parallels in their own lives, while others swore to defy the deniers and to never become bystanders.
Rebecca Ebner Hoag, a veteran high school English teacher of thirty-six years, has been involved with teaching the Holocaust both in the classroom and, upon retirement, through the education program at the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio. In 2010, Hoag co-authored a book called Our Voices/Our LIves: Twenty Holocaust Survivors Remember, published by the museum to memorialize local survivors. Her twelve-year close relationship with survivor Rose Williams is the basis for Williams' entrusting Hoag to tell her story, setting personal events in their historical context.