Posted by Zilla Roth on Aug 19, 2020
Over my life time many people have asked what is your name? Where do you come from? What kind of name is that? Coming from a refugee family, “landing” in Hobart, Tasmania, where school children in Primary School did not know the difference between Germans, Jews and Japs. Not knowing what a Jew is,or what a Jew was, I became a “Dirty Jap”! Even the teachers were unaware. One can imagine what the teasing was like. My parents had anglicized our name from Abramowsky to Abrams and this still did not help. So how DID I get my name.
I was born into a prominent Doctor’s family in Berlin, August 1939, Nazi German times and was meant to have been born in England where my grandfather had found his daughter and son-in-law a sponsor family so we could leave Germany for England. As it happened I came early, in February instead of May. When Jewish babies were born their parents were given a list of names from which to choose. My parents had wanted to name me after my mother’s two sisters who had already been exterminated by the Nazis. My mother said the choices were horrible and then my parents found “Zilla”, actually a Jewish name. The “z” in German is pronounced “TZ”, anglicized it is a soft “z”. Tzilla was Noah’s middle daughter-in-law married to Chem or in English Ham. The name also appears in an early bible story as the sister of Ada both of whom were married to a very cruel Philistinian man. Even today people find it hard to hear my name on the phone and I get many variations, hence when I ring a company I always spell it. The name Zillah (Hebrew spelling) was the name of the housekeeper in Wuthering Heights.  My parents on coming to Australia thought an English name could be useful and gave me Judith as my second name. I did try and use it once, as my being teased got almost more that I could bear, when in a new school I forgot to answer! So Zilla stuck! And Zilla is my name. 
 
Zilla Roth
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