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Three young women peel potatoes into large bowls in the Holzhausen displaced persons camp.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 74542

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    Three young women peel potatoes into large bowls in the Holzhausen displaced persons camp.
    Three young women peel potatoes into large bowls in the Holzhausen displaced persons camp.


    Three young women peel potatoes into large bowls in the Holzhausen displaced persons camp.
    Holzhausen, [Bavaria] Germany ?
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Rebecca Fried

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Rebecca Fried

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Rifka Weiss (now Rebecca Fried) is the daughter of Alexander and Sima Leah (nee Kleinman) Weiss. She was born on May 1, 1928 in a religious home in Brod, Czechoslovakia, where her father was a roofer. Rifka had three older brothers, Abraham Kleinman, Zwi Hersh (Hessi) and Mordechai (b. 1926), and a younger brother Simcha (b. 1932). Simcha appears in a few of Roman Vishniac's iconic photographs of young boys studying in a cheder. Rifka's mother taught Hebrew every Saturday and had a beautiful singing voice. Two of her older brothers studied in the yeshiva in Nitra, and the third studied in a yeshiva 6 km from home. Rifka attended s local religious school where she learned Czech. In 1939 Hungary annexed the Transcarpathia region of Czechoslovakia including Brod and later conscripted young men, including Rifka's older brothers, for forced labor. On March 19, 1944, Germany invaded Hungary. The following month, Rifka, her parents and youngest brother were sent to a ghetto in Mukacevo and in May were deported to Auschwitz. Her parents and Simcha were killed immediately. Her mother was just 47 years old. Rifka worked in Auschwitz as a seamstress inserting soles in shoes and shoulder pads the jackets and also sorting confiscated belongings searching for gold and valuables. Rifka continued this work until no more deportations arrived at the camp. Afterwards, she worked in cabbage fields near Auschwitz. Once, a female SS guard hit her on the hit causing her convulsions. In January 1945 the Germans began to evacuate Auschwitz. Rifka was taken to Bergen-Belsen where she stayed for one week, and in February she went Rochlitz for one week. From there she and other female prisoners, including her cousin Malka Weiss, were sent on a death march to Zatec where she was liberated. Local Czechs cared and fed the women. Rifka learned to cook while working in a hospital in Zatec. Her two surviving older brothers found her in Zatec as she was cooking food for Shabbat. She then learned that her third oldest brother Mordechai had died in 1944 at the age of 18. She and Malka remained in Czechoslovakia for a year living in a kibbutz hachshara. Afterwards, Rifka joined a kibbutz in a convent in Holzhausen, Germany. The nuns helped care for the young survivors. Rifka worked in the camp kitchen. In July 1947, she made her way to France and boarded the Exodus to sail to Palestine. The British would not allow the passengers to land in Haifa and sent them back to Europe. Rifka eventually arrived in Israel in 1948. There she met and married Israel Fried (b. July 8, 1918), a survivor from Kiralyhaza. In 1959 they moved to the United States with their two children, Alex and Matthew (Maty) and had five grandchildren Brian (Avi), Jennifer, Robert, Abe and Kenny Fried.
    Record last modified:
    2014-07-07 00:00:00
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