Roman Kent was born Roman Kniker to Emanuel and Sonia Kniker in Lodz, Poland, on April 18, 1929. He had two older sisters and one younger brother. His father owned a textile factory. When walking to the private Jewish school he attended, Roman remembers that non-Jewish children called him and his classmates names and threw stones at them. In 1939, soon after the Germans invaded Poland, Roman and his family were forced out of their home and had to move into an empty room in the factory that had been confiscated from his father. By the end of 1939, the family was imprisoned in the Lodz ghetto. Conditions there were harsh, and Roman’s father became ill and died of malnutrition in 1943. In the fall of 1944, the ghetto was liquidated, and the family was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where their mother would die. In April 1945, Roman and his brother were liberated by the U.S. Army during a death march. In 1946, Roman and his brother immigrated to the United States and lived with foster families in Atlanta. After college, the brothers moved to New York and changed their last name to Kent because it was easier to pronounce. Roman met his future wife Hannah in New York. They married in 1957 and had two children. Roman became involved in Holocaust education and was instrumental in the making of Children of the Holocaust, a documentary film dedicated to the memory of the children who died during the Holocaust. At the time of Roman’s interview on April 29, 1996 in New York, he and his wife, Hannah, had two grandchildren.
LA Museum of the Holocaust