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Oral history interview with Frieda Sysman

Oral History | Accession Number: 1990.338.54 | RG Number: RG-50.037.0054

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Frieda Sysman, born in Cologne, Germany, describes her father, who had a textile business; she and her younger brother having a very happy childhood; her grandparents, who had left Poland because of the persecution of the Jews long before the Nazis came to power in Germany; her grandparents being sent back to Poland in 1938 and not surviving the war; being nine years old in 1939 when they were warned by a friendly non-Jewish neighbor that all the Jews would be killed; being sent with her seven-year-old brother to Brussels, Belgium, where the Red Cross helped to place them with Jewish families; her parents going into hiding and being smuggled to Belgium a few months later; the German occupation of Belgium and her family fleeing to France, but being caught by the Germans and sent back to Belgium; her father being deported in August 1942 and killed in Auschwitz; a priest taking her brother to an orphanage and her mother and herself to a convent; staying with a woman who did not feed her much food; being taken into the convent; being placed in charge of some younger children including her brother; the convent arranging for her to learn shorthand and typing; liberation and finding a job as secretary for the American Army; still being in touch with the convent, where she spent four years; meeting her future husband who had escaped from Poland and whose entire family had been killed; the antisemitism in Poland; getting married in 1947 and moving to Israel in 1949; her mother moving to Israel then the United States; immigrating in 1958 with her husband to the US and settling in Buffalo, NY; being affected by the memory of her experiences and finding it difficult to talk about it; and not telling her children but how they now know about the events.

Interviewee
Frieda Sysman
Language
English
Extent
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:52:18
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn511817