Rose Klas passes away in Sydney at 103

January 8, 2020 by  
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Rose married Henry Klas, the love of her life during the blitz in London in 1940.

Rose Klas

He was a Czech soldier in the British army she was a domestic in the East End. Both escaped Slovakia just ahead of the Nazi invasion leaving their families, who perished in the Holocaust, behind.  

After the war they emigrated with two children, Miriam and George to Australia, where they were called “refos” and as Jews invited to return to Jerusalem.

The early days were difficult. Henry became a hawker, away for weeks selling shmattes on sheep stations. Rose raised the kids and took in piece work. That’s what emigrants do. Through hard work in the new world, they built parnossa and a family of two children, three grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and six step-great-grandchildren. 

Separately there are dozens of others in the family. Not too shabby for a decimated, war-torn family. A gift that Australia allowed them to realize.

Rose was a modest woman who never forgot her small farm upbringing in Bogdanovce. But her heart was enormous. She loved not just her family and friends but people in general. Over her long life, she encountered many people. Most genuinely loved her – care-givers, shopkeepers, nurses, repairmen, doctors. She radiated a generosity of spirit that came from a deep abiding belief that people were essentially good. “I love people,” she would say. Instinctively they felt she meant it.

This core belief was tied to her spirituality. She had a deep belief in God and in her later years, her prayer worn siddur was always by her side, right up to the end. The Klas family have been members of Central Synagogue since the 1950’s.

Rose was the matriarch, the power behind the throne. Henry would often say, “ Without your mummy we would not be where we are.” As kids, Miriam and George felt she was the shelter during a storm. When in her 90s she broke a leg her determination proved the doctors wrong and she learned to walk again. 

Each week Rose met her friends at the Burger Centre, where she was the senior member. And, she was constantly in touch with her family in Israel and New York. Rose talked about one day being reunited with Henry. While she wasn’t afraid to die she was in no hurry either. “When you are born you must die,” she would softly say. Yet her timing to see her husband was perfect. Like him, she died at Wolper Hospital, in December on Shabbat. 

Rose Klas

Born: April 13, 1916,  Bogdanovce, Slovakia

Died: December  22, 2019, Sydney

Obituary: George Klas

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