HOUSTON, TX (Jan. 19, 2011) – Holocaust Museum Houston will host a special evening for Spanish-speaking visitors this February featuring an opportunity for patrons to hear first-hand from a Spanish-speaking survivor of the Holocaust and then take a guided Spanish-language tour of the Museum.
Survivor Riki Roussos dedicated a memorial plaque to Sarajevo, Yugoslavia outside Holocaust Museum Houston in 2007.
The Museum, normally open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., will re-open at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, with survivor Riki Roussos speaking about her experience at 6 p.m.
Guided tours of the permanent exhibition “Bearing Witness: A Community Remembers” will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8:15 p.m. Audio tours in Spanish, as well as printed guides to the permanent exhibition also will be available.
Roussos was several months shy of her 14th birthday when Germany and its allies — Italy, Bulgaria and Hungary — invaded and dismembered Yugoslavia in April 1941. Her father Isaac, a carpenter who worked as a civil servant, lost his job immediately. Although the family had to rely on relatives to support them, they managed to stay together until October 1941, when a knock on the door awakened them in the middle of the night. German SS officers had come to arrest Isaac and Daniel, Roussos’ 17-year-old brother. Roussos and her younger brother, Samuel, hid with their mother in a cold and cramped basement for several months before making their way — disguised as Muslims — to Mostar, which was in the Italian-occupied zone.
The Italian occupation forces treated the Yugoslav Jews benignly, resisting German pressure to surrender them. Instead, Italian authorities assembled thousands of Jews in the Rab Island camp, off the Dalmatian coast. Roussos and her family were sent to the camp early in 1943. When Italy signed an armistice with the Allies in September of that year, Germany took control of Rab. Under the protection of Yugoslav partisans, Roussos and her family, together with hundreds of other Jewish refugees, escaped from the island just before German forces arrived. The family made its way to the mainland, travelling on foot to Banja Luka, where they lived among the partisans until the end of the war.
After liberation, Roussos and her family returned to Sarajevo to search for Isaac and Daniel. They discovered that both had been murdered at the camp of Jasenovac.
Determined to build a new life for herself, Roussos emigrated to Israel in 1949 with her brother, mother and grandmother.
Roussos married Mordechai Roussos, a survivor from Greece, in 1950. Their son Eli arrived the following year and daughter Sarah was born in 1952. Pursuing Mordechai’s longtime dream, the family came to the United States in 1962.
Both events are free of admission, and advance registration is not required. For more information, call 713-942-8000, ext. 100 or e-mail email@example.com.
Roussos’ presentation is made possible with special thanks to United Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.
Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.
Holocaust Museum Houston’s Morgan Family Center is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004. For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.