Else, born Else Herz, was one of three children born to a Jewish family in the large port city of Hamburg. Her father owned a grain import-export business. As a child, Else attended a private girls' school. In 1913 she married Fritz Rosenberg and the couple moved to Goettingen where they raised three children.
1933-39: With the onset of the Depression in the 1930s, Else's husband's linen factory went into decline. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, they confiscated the Rosenberg's factory. Deprived of their livelihood, the family was then evicted from their home. They relocated to Hamburg where they relied upon financial support from relatives and whatever earnings two of the children could bring in as sales apprentices.
1940-43: In late 1941 the Rosenbergs were deported 800 miles east to the Minsk ghetto in the USSR. Else was put to work cleaning snow and ice from railway tracks at night. In July 1942, after the work brigades left the ghetto for the day, it was surrounded by SS men. Else's brigade heard gunfire from the ghetto. For three days the laborers were kept at their sites; unrest grew by the hour. When allowed to return, Else saw hundreds of corpses on the ground; miraculously, her family was still alive. Some 30,000 had been killed.
Else's son Heinz was taken to the Treblinka extermination camp in September 1943. Two weeks later, the ghetto was liquidated. Else and the rest of her family were not heard from again.