Vernon Rusheen

A Survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau

Vernon Rusheen was born in Berlin, Germany and as an eight year old youngster witnessed the rise to power by the Nazis.

In 1936 he was compelled to terminate his education at the Berlin public school because he was Jewish. From 1936 until November 1938 he continued his education at a Berlin Jewish community school. During the vicious attack, called the "Night of the Broken Glass", all remaining Jewish schools were maliciously vandalized and destroyed by the Nazis. This outrageous act of violence terminated his educational studies.

From 1940 until February 1943, he was pressed into forced labor that ended with his deportation to the Auschwitz concentration camp. His parents, sister, brother-in-law and almost one hundred close relatives perished in the extermination camps. During his internment at Auschwitz, he and other inmates were active in the resistance group by sabotaging armament production for the Nazi war effort.

On the 18th of January 1945 he and 6000 other inmates endured the notorious death march to Germany. Upon arrival in Dachau only seventy-five prisoners survived the horrendous ordeal. His incarnation continued under extreme inhuman conditions, brutal labor and starvation food rations.

He was freed in May 1945 by American troops near a Bavarian village. He returned to Berlin and participated in the restructuring of the Berlin Jewish community that also included assisting thousands of survivors from Eastern Europe.

Vernon Rusheen immigrated to the United States of America in 1947 where he continued his education. He married his wife Shirley in 1953. They have four children and are the proud grandparents of nine grandchildren. Both are retired and are very active in community affairs.


Offered by the

Victoria Holocaust Remembrance and Education Society