Frieda Feldman
1917 to 2001

Frieda Feldman was born in Warsaw, Poland on May 17, 1917. Her father, Avraham, died when Frieda was two years old. Her mother, Chaya, was born in 1889. Frieda had an older sister, Leah, and a younger brother, Avraham. Avraham died at birth.

After the death of Frieda's father, her mother moved the family to Sokolow, a town of approximately 5,000 people, 60 kilometers from Warsaw. Frieda's mother had her own kosher poultry business.

In September 1939, when the Nazis invaded Poland, Sokolow was in the German portion of Poland. Frieda was attacked by Nazi soldiers and decided to flee to Russia. She persuaded her fiancé, Mendel Feldman, to go with her. She also took her mother, her sister Leah, and Leah's fiancé, Velvel Lopata, with them. The family stopped briefly in Bialystok, where both couples were married on November 14, 1939.

Frieda and Mendel stayed in Bialystok until January 1940. The Russians then sent them to labor camps in the Ural Mountains (the town of Berezhniki). Frieda and Mendel's first son, Avraham, was born in October 1940. Food was scarce there. In March 1941, Frieda and Mendel returned to White Russia (the town of Orsha, near Minsk). Frieda's mother accompanied them throughout the war. Leah and Velvel remained in the Ural Mountains.

Frieda and Mendel could not find work in White Russia. In April 1941, they moved to Crimea. Germany invaded Russia in June 1941. Frieda and Mendel again fled Eastward toward the Caspian Sea - often only a few dozen kilometers ahead of the Nazi troops. During 1942, while Mendel was in jail on charges by the KGB, their first son died. Frieda and Mendel spent the years between 1942 and 1944 as refugees in various parts of Azerbaijan. Their son Fred was born in Baku in 1942. After the Germans were driven out of Crimea, the Russians sent Frieda and Mendel back there in 1944. Their son Irving was born in 1945 in Saki.

In March 1946, after the war ended, Frieda and Mendel left Crimea and returned to Poland (the town of Kamena Gura). Mendel went back to their home village of Sokolow, but everything had been destroyed. All who had stayed died in Treblinka.

In the Summer of 1946, Frieda and Mendel signed up with a refugee organization, the Bricha, to leave Poland. They traveled on foot for three months with two children and Frieda's mother, to Austria. They lived in the Welz Displaced Persons camp near Linz, Austria, between 1946 and 1949.

In October 1949, Frieda's uncle, Joseph Rosenbaum, sponsored their immigration to the United States. They settled in South Bend, Indiana, where he lived. Frieda had two more children in South Bend: Charlotte in 1950, and Boris in 1955. Frieda and Mendel raised their four children there over the next several decades.

In 1990, Frieda and Mendel moved to Rockville, Maryland, near their daughter. In the late 1990's, Frieda began to show symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Frieda and Mendel moved to Palo Alto, California in early 2000, near their youngest son and his family. Frieda died on June 3, 2001.

By forcing Mendel and her sister to leave Poland at the start of World War II, Frieda saved the lives of 32 people in five generations.