Rozetta "Rose" Van Thyn

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Rose Van Thyn

SHREVEPORT, LA - Rozetta "Rose" Van Thyn, 88, honored often in Shreveport-Bossier and the area for her commitment to educating the public about the Holocaust, passed away Sunday, June 27, 2010.

She was a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where she was a prisoner for three years as a young woman. Over the past three decades, she told her story to thousands at area schools, churches and civic groups, and was often a featured speaker at Shreveport-Bossier's annual Holocaust memorial service. As an Attaway Fellow in Civic Culture, she made regular visits to speak to students at Centenary College.

Born and raised in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, she lost her parents, sister and first husband in the camps. She met fellow survivor Louis Van Thyn in Amsterdam after the war and they married in 1946. Louis died on Aug. 27, 2008.

Rose was liberated from Auschwitz by American soldiers and vowed to someday live in the United States. In 1956, the Van Thyns and their two children immigrated to Shreveport, with sponsorship from the Shreveport Jewish Federation and the A.A. Gilbert family.

A homemaker, excellent cook and professional seamstress, she was most proud of her family, of becoming a U.S. citizen in May 1961, and of receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Centenary in 2002. In 2003, she and Louis were recognized by the National Conference of Community and Justice for service to the city. Her most recent honor was the Liberty Bell Award from the Shreveport Bar Association.

Survivors are son Nico (wife Bea) of Fort Worth, Texas; daughter Elsa (husband Jim Wellen) of Voorhees, N.J., grandsons Jason Key (wife Ann) of McKinney, Texas, Adam Wellen (fiancee Tania Welker) of Washington, D.C. and Josh Wellen of Baton Rouge; granddaughters Rachel (husband Russell) Smith of Knoxville, Tenn., and Abby Wellen of Pittsburgh, Pa., and great-grandchildren Josephine Smith and Jacob Key.

A memorial service will be Sunday, July 11, at 2 p.m. at Centenary's Brown Memorial Chapel. She will be honored with a plaque in the Centenary rose garden and a bench at LSU-Shreveport. At her request, her body was donated to LSU Medical Center.

Memorial donations may be made to Van Thyn Endowed Professorship Chair at Centenary College and the Rose and Louis Van Thyn Master of Liberal Arts Scholarship at LSUS. Rose-Neath Funeral Home

Marshall Street Chapel

(318) 222-0348


Published in Shreveport Times on June 29, 2010
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