Rozetta "Rose" Van Thyn
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 by Shreveport Times on Jun. 29, 2010.
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21 Entries
Elsa and family, Our thoughts and prayers are with you. She lived her life with great love and dignity. I always enjoy the stories that you tell when we have coffee together. All our love Elaine Arnold garonzik

July 11, 2010
Dear Elsa and Nico,
My prayers are with you and your Family as you grieve the loss of your Mother. May God bless you and give you strength and understanding at this difficult time.

Most Sincerely,

Jim and Glenna Hodge
July 5, 2010
Elsa, your mother was a ray of sunshine in the world. She brought laughter to those she touched despite having gone through such sadness. We will miss her.

Shirley Shreveport, LA
July 5, 2010
Nico, I had the honor of knowing your Mom and Dad for 50 years. She was a very kind and loving person from the first time I met her. The both of them will be greatly missed by those who lives they touched.
Ellace Bruce
July 1, 2010
Nico, so very sorry for your loss. Your mother was an exceptional lady, and I know you are so proud to be her son. I was amazed at the long list of accomplishments mentioned in her obituary, and her dedication to and passion for educating young people about the Holocaust is just inspirational. I know you will miss her dearly.
Pam Reid Summerlin
June 30, 2010
Dear Nico, Elsa and all family members please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers. I feel so lucky to have know your Mom and Dad and visit with them through the years. I am so sorry for your loss and I wish I could be there to give you all Big Hugs!! I hope we all can find comfort in the wonderful memories of your Mom. She was such a special Lady! May God Bless all of you. Love Leslie
Leslie Bradford
June 30, 2010
I know you will miss her, but you are truly blessed to have such a great legacy left to you by her and your father also.
Dave McCallum
June 30, 2010
May peace be with you.
June 29, 2010
Nico.If possible can we keep in tauch
Send a E Mail?
Ourn E mail is [email protected]
Leon van Witsen
June 29, 2010
We where friends from te time just afther the war in Amsterdam.
We met a few times afther that.We are so sorry to lose such a friend
As always
Lidy and Leon van Witsen/
Toronto Canada
June 29, 2010
Elsa, Nico and family,
I am so very sorry for your loss and the loss to the community. Your parents were both such wonderful people and an inspiration to so many. I just loved them and have great memories of them. God bless each of you.
Debbie Dawson Hatfield
June 29, 2010
Nico, So sorry for your loss. Alden Reeves.
Alden Reeves
June 29, 2010
Nico, Elsa, and Families,
It was an honor for me to befriend your mother this last year. She was so open and willing to share her piece of history to all who would listen. She was influential in my life and I appreciate that opportunity. If I can help in any way while you are here, please feel free to call.
Rev. Betty Bricker
June 29, 2010
I interviewed your mother years ago for a college research paper. She was such a lovely and devout woman that still influences me today and she touched my heart forever. My condolences to your family, and I am very sorry for your loss. She will be greatly missed.
June 29, 2010
I had the pleasure of knowing Ro through her daughter Elsa's family. It was always a treat being with such a kind, dynamic and most of all very funny woman. She will be missed!
Cherri Richman
June 29, 2010
Your mom/mother-in-law/grandmother/great-grandmother was an inspiration to all who had the privilege of knowing her or hearing her speak. Mrs. Van Thyn leaves a beautiful legacy of hope and faith lived out to the very end of her days.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Carolyn Lindsay-Blaikie
June 29, 2010
Nico - Hope you remember me since it has been a long time. I use to work with Bea at Booth Lockard and will never forget your Mom talking to us about the Holocaust. After listening to her, it would anger me when people tried to deny it happened. Am so sorry to here about her death and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. If you ever get out to Dallas, give me a call. Nelda
Nelda McGuire
June 29, 2010
Condolences to Nico and family. Your mother definitely lived a purpose driven life. The world is a better place because of her.
Donald Mayeaux
June 29, 2010
Years ago Mrs. Van Thyn spoke to our class at Oak Terrace Junior High in Shreveport about the horrors of Auschwitz. It made a lasting impression of me that has continued for nearly 50 years. Once I was able to spend the night at the Van Thyn's courtesy of Nico their son. For breakfast the next day we had peanut butter sandwiches. I always thought that anyone who would let a kid have this kind of sandwich for breakfast was all right in my book. Mrs. Van Thyn was all right. A sweet lady that will be missed by everyone that knew her.
Raleigh Whitehead
June 29, 2010
Mrs. Van Thyn touch so many lives in the Shreveport-Bossier area. My students were amazed at her will to live and the message she was able to teach them. She will be missed.
Teri Hays
June 29, 2010
We were so sorry to hear of your loss. The thoughts of many are with you at this time of sorrow.
Larry & Sylvia McDonald
June 29, 2010
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