Julian Noga was born on July 31, 1921, in Skrzynka, Poland, in Dambrowksa (Dabrowa) County near Tarnow, to Catholic parents, Andro and Marya Saladyga Noga. Andrew (1883-1964) and Mary (1884 - d.?) were both born in Poland and immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s. In 1910, they married and had 3 sons: Matthew, Bruno, and John. In June 1921, Marya, pregnant with Julian, returned to Poland with her sons, but not her husband. They settled in Skrzynka, where Marya owned farmland. In 1937, Julian went to Tarnow and worked as a dish washer at a Jewish restaurant. Later that year, he became an apprentice baker. By 1939, all of Julian’s brothers had returned to the US.
On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Tarnow was occupied a week later by German troops. The bakery where Julian worked was closed and he returned to his mother’s farm. On September 17, the Soviet Union invaded from the east. The Polish Army was quickly defeated and Germany and the Soviet Union divided the country per a previously agreed upon pact. Julian’s village was in a region annexed by Germany. Germany had severe labor shortages and since Poles were considered to be racially inferior, Polish males were required to perform unpaid forced labor, as were Jewish males. In early November, Julian found and hid a Polish Army rifle. He was arrested after someone reported him to the Gestapo. He said he did not have a gun and was beaten. He was then assigned as forced labor and sent to Michaelnbach in upper Austria, which was part of the German Reich.
On December 8, Julian and his friend Frank were picked up at a labor office and taken to the Greinegger estate by the owner’s daughter, Friedericke (Frieda), 19. It was the largest farm in the county. The Austrian Catholic Greinegger family was very wealthy. Frieda’s parents were Matthaus and Theresia Schatzl Greinegger, and she had four siblings: Margaret, Theresia, Marianne, and Matthaus. The farm's workers, as well as her brother Matthaus, were conscripted by the German Army. Austria, like Germany, had racial laws designed to insure the purity of the Aryan race, which made it illegal for an Aryan, such as Frieda, to be involved with a racially inferior Polish person. The penalty for an Aryan violating the law was prison. Non-Aryans, such as Polish forced laborers, had no rights and could be punished however a magistrate decided. Julian and Frieda developed feelings for one another, and then fell in love. Frieda let Julian listen to the radio one day to hear news about Poland. This was illegal and someone saw them and told Frieda’s father, who ordered one of them to leave the farm. Frieda left and went to work on a nearby farm, but she and Julian met secretly. In November 1940, someone reported their meetings to the Gestapo. They were arrested and questioned for 11 days. They were released and assigned to work on separate farms. Julian and Frieda continued to meet. The farmer that Frieda worked for reported them to the Gestapo. On September 19, 1941, the Gestapo arrested Julian and beat him severely before sending him to the prison in Linz. On October 27, the Gestapo moved Julian to Wels, near Mauthausen, where he worked as forced labor. In spring 1942, Julian and two prisoners crafted saws from metal boot stays and cut through their window bars, but were caught before they could escape. On April 8, Julian was returned to Linz prison.
On August 3, Julian was deported to Flossenberg concentration camp in Germany. During the journey, Julian befriended a German criminal named Hans Bauer. When he arrived at the camp, Julian was whipped, pushed down stairs, and hosed down with cold water. He was issued a striped uniform, but no shoes, and assigned prisoner number 1623. He was interrogated daily and forced to run while a kapo whipped him. Hans became a kapo or barracks leader. After two weeks, Julian was taken to the stone quarry and assigned to the kette kommando, a group that tied chains around large granite blocks. The work was dangerous and involved climbing, so he was issued leather shoes. After three weeks, Julian was transferred to the quarry and learned to shape granite. He woke at 4:30 a.m. and worked a twelve hour shift. On Sundays, he cleaned, and went through inspection. Every day, Julian received one liter of burned, black coffee, three slices of bread with margarine, and a bowl of watery vegetable soup. After several months, Julian became a stonecutter and carved decorative blocks. In 1943, Julian was selected for a transport to Auschwitz concentration camp and his prisoner number was tattooed on his arm. Just before the transport left, Hans had Julian pulled off the car. In summer 1944, a kapo hit Julian so hard that his head began to bleed and Julian hit him back. Other kapos were whipping Julian when Hans again saved him. That fall, Julian was sent to a penal colony, where he had to transfer sand by running from one pile to another, carrying it on heavy trays. Hans intervened again and Julian was transferred after one week.
On April 20, 1945, Flossenberg was evacuated and Julian was sent on a death march to Dachau concentration camp. He was given some bread and no water. Anyone that could not keep moving was killed. On April 23, Julian was liberated by US soldiers. Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945. After three weeks, Julian biked to Michaelnbach to find Frieda. Julian learned that Frieda had been sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp in November 1941, and released in 1942. In March/April 1946, Julian and Frieda married. Their first child was born later that year. In March 1948, Julian, Frieda, and their daughter immigrated to the US and settled near Julian’s father in Utica, New York. Frieda worked at a factory and Julian worked in construction. In 1951, their son was born. In 1958, Julian opened a monument business, Lincoln-Jenny Memorials, utilizing the stonecutting skills he learned as a prisoner. In 1995, for the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Flossenberg, Julian made a commemorative plaque to thank the 97th Infantry Division for liberating him and the other prisoners. Frieda, 93, died on May 3, 2014. Julian, 93, died on October 10, 2014.
Friedericke (Frieda) Greinegger was born on October 19, 1920, in Michaelnbach, Austria, to a Catholic couple, Matthaus and Theresia Schatzl Greinegger. Her father was a college educated only son and World War I (1914-1918) veteran whose family had owned the large farm and hunting estate for over a century. Frieda was the next to youngest, with four siblings: Margaret, Theresia, Marianne, and Matthaus. Frieda’s family was wealthy. It was the largest farm in the county and groups came from the city to hunt there. She and her siblings often helped out on the farm, and her mother cooked for the family and the workers.
Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany on March 13, 1938, an act welcomed with great enthusiasm by the majority of the population. Frieda’s father, Matthaus, joined the Nazi Party for business and social reasons. At one meeting, he quit the party, and found that people would not do business with him and he could not get needed supplies. Military service had been mandatory since the annexation, but Matthaus’s son had been exempted.
On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, the beginning of World War II. Frieda's brother and all the male workers on the farm were drafted. Frieda's brother was drafted, and served in France after Germany invaded western Europe in May 1940. All of Germany had a desperate labor shortage. Forced laborers were used to meet the demand and all Jewish and Polish males were required to perform unpaid forced labor. Frieda’s father heard that Polish laborers were being brought in to work on area farms and requested workers. The day they arrived, around December 9, 1939, Matthaus was sick and sent Frieda to bring the two Polish workers to the farm: Julian Noga and Frank. Julian was born on July 31, 1921, in Skrzynka, Poland, to Catholic parents, Andro and Marya Saladyga Noga. His mother lived in Poland, and his father and three older brothers, Matthew, Bruno, and John, were in the US.
Germany had racial laws designed to insure the purity of the Aryan race and mandated the total separation of Aryan and non-Aryan. Poles were not Aryan and were regarded by the Germans as racially inferior. It was illegal for an Aryan, such as Frieda, to be involved with a racially inferior Polish person, and the penalty for an Aryan violating the law was prison. Non-Aryans had no rights and could be punished however a magistrate decided. Frieda and Julian were often together, working on the farm and at mealtimes. Julian and Frieda were the same age and Frieda helped Julian learn German. They developed feelings for each other, and then fell in love. As a forced laborer, Julian was not allowed to listen to the radio. One day, Frieda let him listen to a program about Poland; someone saw them and told Frieda’s father. He was angry and said they could not continue their relationship, warning them that Frieda could be jailed and Julian killed. Frieda’s father ordered one of them to leave. Frieda went to work on a nearby farm, but they continued to meet secretly. In November 1940, someone reported their meetings to the Gestapo. Frieda and Julian were arrested. Frieda was charged with being a Polish sympathizer. They were questioned for 11 days in Linz, but there was no proof against them. They were again warned of the consequences of any continued involvement, given papers to sign stating their awareness of the law, and released. Julian and Frieda were assigned to work on separate farms. They continued meeting. Frieda found the work hard and applied for a factory job. The farmer she worked for was angry and he reported their meetings to the Gestapo. On September 18, 1941, Frieda was arrested by the Gestapo and taken to prison in Linz. She was charged with having relations with a Pole. After interrogations filled with threats and insults, Frieda confessed. She also thought it would be less dangerous for Julian if she took the blame. Julian was arrested the following day.
On November 7, 1941, Frieda was deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp. Female members of the SS forced her down stairs lined with coffins into a dark cell. The next morning, she was questioned, assigned prisoner number 8446, forced to shower, and given a striped uniform with wooden shoes and woolen stockings with rope ties. Her head was shaved. After two weeks, Frieda was transferred to the block for political prisoners. Each day, she was issued one fifth of a bread loaf, a bowl of soup, coffee, and a slice of blood sausage with margarine. She worked in a chain gang that unloaded bricks from a ship in the snow. Four days later, a guard walked by looking for seamstresses. Frieda lied and said she could sew. She learned quickly and attached buttons to gloves. In 1942, most likely in August, Frieda was released and put on a train to Austria. Her father had paid for her release. She was ostracized by her neighbors. One day, Frank, the other Polish laborer, told Frieda that he had received a card from Julian, who was interned at Flossenberg concentration camp. Frieda bribed Frank to secretly mail him a letter and a large box of fruit, onions, and tobacco.
On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. On May 18, Julian returned to Frieda’s house. Julian had been imprisoned in Austria until August 1942, and then transported to Flossenberg, Germany. On April 23, he was liberated during a death march. Frieda’s brother Matthaus died in combat in the Soviet Union. In March or April 1946, Frieda married Julian and their daughter was born on July 21. In March 1948, Frieda, Julian, and their daughter immigrated to the US and settled near Julian’s father in Utica, New York. Frieda worked at a factory and Julian worked in construction. In 1951, their son was born. In 1958, Julian opened a monument business, utilizing the stonecutting skills he had learned as a prisoner. For twenty-five years, Julian hosted a radio show Polonaise. Frieda, 93, died on May 3, 2014. Julian, 93, died on October 10, 2014.