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Oral history interview with Henja Frydman

Oral History | Accession Number: 1998.A.0159.24 | RG Number: RG-50.472.0024

Henja Frydman, born in 1924 in Pinsk, Poland (now in Belarus), describes being one of six children; her three brothers and two sisters; moving with her family to Paris, France in 1931; her father’s clothing business; being a student prior to the German occupation of France in 1940; the drastic change in life after the arrival of the Germans; the arrest of one of her brothers in the summer of 1941, his internment in Drancy detention camp, and death from typhus in Auschwitz; joining the communist element of the French resistance and working for the propaganda section; living separately from her family and the emotional pain it caused her; being arrested in 1943 and sent to Drancy, where she remained for three months; conditions in the camp; being deported to Auschwitz and singing “La Marseillaise” during the train journey with others from the Resistance; the deportation of her parents and brother to Auschwitz, where they perished; the train journey to Auschwitz; staying in the camp for a year; her first day in the camp; being forced to sing German songs in the camp; her survival of the camp and the solidarity she maintained with her fellow female prisoners; her friendship with Mala Zimetbaum; working as nurse in the camp’s hospital; staying at the camp while other inmates were sent on a death march in January 1945; being liberated by the Red Army on January 27, 1945; going to Paris, where she worked in an administrative capacity for a survivors’ organization; her two sisters and brother in Palestine; and her plan to remain in France.

Henja Frydman
David P. Boder
interview:  1946 August 07
4 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, acquired from the Library of Congress