Felicia Friedman by the Forward

Felicia Friedman, 94, Holocaust Survivor Who Refused To Relinquish Her Faith

Image by sojc.org

(JTA) — In 1939, 13-year-old Felicia Friedman was ripped from her family and sent to the Płaszow concentration camp outside Krakow, Poland, where she saw the infamous Nazi war criminal Amon Göth kill her 6-year-old cousin.

After later hearing another teenaged inmate declare that after all she had witnessed she no longer believed in God, Deutscher responded that God did exist but that humans had chosen the path of evil.

“My father – her husband to be – overheard the conversation and was very impressed by the remarks of this young girl,” Friedman’s son, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman, told The Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “They agreed to meet again if they were both able to survive the war.”

After the war, Friedman discovered that her entire family had been wiped out by the Nazis, but she managed to reconnect with the young man from Płaszow. The pair married and attempted to make their way to pre-state Israel. Turned away at the Italian border, they ended up in a displaced persons camp in Germany before moving to the United States in 1947.

Friedman, who died of COVID-19 in Florida on May 19 at the age of 94, wound up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where she began taking night classes to improve her English while working as a bookkeeper and raising a family.

While lacking a formal Jewish education beyond age 13, Friedman was a proud and committed Jews. In Auschwitz, declined to beg for mercy from a guard who was beating her, even though the guard promised he would stop if she did. In America, she chose to raise her children with joy despite all she had endured, telling one of her grandchildren that the number tattooed on her arm was her phone.

“You moved to Florida,” the child said in response. “Didn’t you have to change your number?”

Friedman is survived by two children and 20 grandchildren.

The post Felicia Friedman, 94, Holocaust survivor who refused to relinquish her faith appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


Felicia Friedman, 94, Holocaust Survivor Who Refused To Relinquish Her Faith

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Felicia Friedman, 94, Holocaust Survivor Who Refused To Relinquish Her Faith

Thank you!

This article has been sent!