Holocaust Survivor Series: Esther Starobin


Rebecca Stefl, Writer

On April 3, 1937 in Adelsheim, Germany,  Esther Starobin was born. On October 29, 2019 Ms. Starbin told her story about her experience during the Holocaust to several eager to learn students.

Buffalo Island Central was one of several schools that attended the field trip to Black River Technical College, where students were able to meet Esther and listen to her speak.

Esther Starobin was only a small toddler when she lived with her parents – Katie and Adolf Rosenfeld – her three older sisters, and one brother – Bertl, Edith, Ruth and Herman. Her parents worked together selling feed, among other goods for cattle, since her father had lost his leg in World War I. 


After Jewish children were no longer able to attend school, Esther and her sisters moved to Heilbronn, Germany, and later to Aachen.  In March of 1939, Bertl, Edith, and Ruth moved to England on the Kindertransport, a transportation system for Jewish children from Germany to England.  Two months later Esther was sent on the same transit to England where she eventually moved in with Dorothy and Harry Harrison, and their son Alan, from 1939 to1947.

Meanwhile, Esther’s parents and older brother Herman, were sent to the Gurs internment camp, in France,  during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, in October of 1940. Herman was rescued a year later, and moved to New York to live with his aunt and uncle. Esther’s parents were never released. 

In 1947, Esther and her four siblings finally reunited after being separated for many years, encouraged by the remembrance of what their mother had told them, “Keep the family together.” 

Hearing the first-hand account of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust made for an extraordinarily meaningful field trip for the BIC students who were able to attend the lecture. It is ever important that we continue to give a voice to those individuals who experienced oppression, prejudice, and hatred, so that future generations can learn from the mistakes of the past and remember their story.