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Samuel Rosen is a father who’s wife is under the care of Sister Hilda from Nonnatus House, however while he seems normal he has an illness that no one can quite work out the source of.

Overview[]

Sammy is first seen when Sister Hilda comes to do his wife Orli’s home visit, he works as a furrier at his in laws business, ran by his grandfather in law. Sister Hilda was there to see if the home was fit for home delivery or if Orli would need to deliver elsewhere. While there she takes the time to admire his handiwork. Sister Hilda is at first reluctant to allow Orli to give birth in their flat above the business, it was because of the nature of the business being fur skin dressing and it may concern the board of health. Orli protests stating she and her late father had been born in the flat, she promises Sammy wouldn’t bring the fur upstairs and Sister Hilda agrees to sign the flat as suitable for a home birth. When there she notices that Sammy seems to have attacks, heat in his throat as he describes it. Sister Hilda makes him promise he would see a doctor to not put his new-born baby at risk.

At his appointment with Dr Turner he decides the best thing would be to have an X-ray at St Cuthberts to check for Tuberculosis. At first Sammy refuses citing he had TB in the past and knew what it felt like. At first Dr Turner is confused as it wasn’t in his notes, Sammy explains it was a long time ago in his home country, Poland. Dr Turner still thinks it would be best for him to be seen at the hospital though. He is then seen getting the X-ray.

Orli soon goes into labour and is attended to by Sister Hilda and Nurse Lucille Robinson. Sammy offers to stay but Nurse Robinson promises to call him if there was any news, Sammy is clearly very stressed when he leaves the room. Orli carries on pushing but nothing comes, in the end Dr Turner is called in for a forceps delivery. Sammy gets more and more stressed as he listens to his wife’s agonised cries. Sammy then bursts into the room and orders the three to get away claiming they’re hurting her, Dr Turner explains they’re helping her and leaves the room with him.

When outside in the kitchen Sammy claims to hear “them” screaming, “all of them” as he says. His grandfather in law Joseph explains he was in a concentration camp, Sammy clarifies it was an extermination camp, that being Auschwitz. He then shows them the number all jews got tattooed onto their arm on entering the camp. Just then he hears the cries of his new born baby. He then goes to see his wife and his new son and is on the verge of tears beside his wife’s bed.

When delivering Orli’s postpartum checks Dr Turner is present. Sammy is dressed in a coat despite being indoors during the summer. Orli explains he hadn’t slept or eaten at all, when making tea for Dr Turner and Sister Hilda they ask him why he was wearing the coat. He explains they may need to leave, the coat clearly being a part of reliving a trauma from his past. He then tells them his full story.

Sammy grew up in Poland with his parents and a little brother, when the Nazis came to power and invaded his country some members of his family where able to emigrate to other countries but not his. He and his family had to live in a Jewish ghetto which was emptied and they were all put on a train to Auschwitz in which they endured a hideous journey. He noted when he arrived there was a foul smell in the air, they were all promised showers. However after arriving some were selected to go to the left and others the right. He and his father were sent to the right to work slave labour in the camp as he was around thirteen but looked older. While his mother and little bother were sent to the left, straight into the gas chambers. Both are horrified by what they were hearing but continued to listen.

Joseph admires his great grandson and calls him a prince. Joseph and Orli plan for a bris (a circumcision) but Sammy doesn’t want to make a fuss, Sister Hilda is invited to the gathering after the bris. They talk about names, Joseph interrupts them stating it was jewish custom not to announce the name of the baby until the bris. Orli wants a Hebrew name like Sammy’s father, but Sammy would rather an English name like George or Henry so his son as he didn’t want everyone to know he’s Jewish.

As Joseph praises Sammy’s craftmanship, Sammy asks for Joseph to hold the baby during the bris ceremony and he accepts. During the ceremony the baby is named Joel, however in everyday life he would go by George Rosen the anglicised version of the name.

When Sister Hilda comes around she admires the fur fox coat again and says it reminds her of the one she inherited from her mother but couldn’t keep when entering the convent. Sammy confides in her that he feels cut off from his heritage, he never he got a bar mitsvah as he was in the ghetto and later the camp in that period. He tells her how his father died, one day the guards went through the camp and selected his father for the gas chambers, he hoped his father would call him over so they could be together but didn’t. Sammy remained in Auschwitz for an unknown amount of time afterwards, the camp was liberated by the allies on the 27th January and he was the only one of his family to survive. He also tearfully confides to Sister Hilda he is seriously ill and he wants to watch his son grow up.

At the surgery he and Orli wait to be called in by Dr Turner, where he informs him that he has a illness known as extrinsic allergic alveolitis, caused by years of inhaling dust. Luckily they caught it early so the prognosis was good, but it would mean giving up work. Orli decides to make sure her grandfather makes him a manager of the business.

Sister Hilda speaks to a rabbi who offers to arrange his bar mitzvah, Sammy is last seen reading from the torah putting right a wrong of the past and going on a new journey.

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