Rosalee Glass, a Holocaust survivor whose life story and decision to follow as many passions as she could through her 80s and 90s was immortalized in a documentary, has died.
She was 102.
Rosalee’s death followed injuries she sustained on a trip to Washington, D.C., where she attended a White House Hanukkah party. As Rosalee was being transported by a wheel chair attendant to a plane in Los Angeles, she was accidentally dropped, according to her daughter, body language expert Lillian Glass.
Her arm was badly bruised, but an x-ray showed she didn’t break anything, and so the mother and daughter stayed overnight at a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport and journeyed to the White House the next day, Lillian wrote on Facebook.
They attended the party last Wednesday, where President Trump addressed Rosalee.
“We are profoundly honored to be joined this afternoon by Rosalee Glass, a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, the darkest chapter of human history,” Trump said. “After the war, Rosalee came to America and started a drapery manufacturing business. Now she has written a book, starred in an award-winning film, and is going strong at the age of 102.
“Where is Rosalee? Where is — hi. You’re looking good,” he continued. “Thank you, Rosalee. Thank you for being here. It’s an honor. And you do — you really fill our hearts with open joy, Rosalee. In honor of Rosalee and the millions of Jews who suffered unthinkable persecution, we renew our pledge now and always: Never again. Never again.”
Rosalee was one of the most sought-after guests at the party, her daughter recalled, noting many people shook her mother's hand and kissed her.
“When we left the White House we were so thrilled as Rosalee said it was one of the best times of her life,” Lillian wrote.
The family flew home that Thursday and went to another doctor, where Rosalee was told she should undergo daily physical therapy, according to her daughter. She rested for all of the next day and by Saturday, appeared to be doing much better.
“We had fun and laughed all day and I read all of the beautiful comments made about her from our [Facebook] friends,” Lillian wrote. “She giggled and smiled and was touched. She loved it. WE had such a fun time until she woke up from a nap screaming in agonizing pain.”
Lillian said she rushed her mother to the emergency room, where Rosalee lost consciousness and stopped breathing. Attempts to revive her were unsuccessful.
“I climbed on top of her body and held her in my arms and sobbed the most gut-level sobs,” Lillian wrote.
The mother and daughter were extremely close and worked together on the 2018 documentary, “Reinventing Rosalee.” Lillian directed the film, in which Rosalee recounted the horrors she suffered early in life and her choice as an octogenarian to follow every passion she could.
Rosalee was born Raisla Talerman in Warsaw, Poland in 1917. As a teen, she began making men’s shirts in a business venture that would become so successful, she was managing a staff of 10 by the time she turned 18, the Jewish Journal reported.
She and her husband Abraham, a violinist, met around the same time and after having a confrontation with Nazi soldiers, chose to move to another part of Poland they believed would be safer. But the couple and their newborn son, Elias, were arrested there and sent to a prison camp in Siberia.
Elias and a daughter, Perla, died in the camp. But Rosalee, her husband and another son, Manny, survived and after the war, were sent to a displaced persons camp in Germany.
The family went on to immigrate to the U.S. and settled in Miami in 1951. There they had Lillian, and Rosalee began her successful drapery business. Abraham died in 1996 at the age of 90, while their son Manny died after an allegedly botched hospital procedure three years later.
Glass moved in with her daughter and though she had suffered from depression, when she turned 80, decided to live life as fully as possible. She learned to play piano, began acting, entered a beauty pageant and traveled the world.
“She was seen by millions in a Super Bowl commercial at 97 and wrote a book sharing her secrets to a long life at 99. And at age 100 she dares to ride with Alaskan Sled Dogs,” a description of the documentary said.
Rosalee died of a blood clot to her heart, which her daughter said was caused during the accident on the plane. Had Rosalee lived three more weeks, she would have turned 103.
“My heart is so broken from this loss which is so severe, not only to me, but to the world,” Lillian told Inside Edition.