Holocaust Interview Essay, Research Paper
Freda Friedman was born November 8, 1928 in Poland in the little town of Gdansk. She was one of 8 kids, only six were present at the time the Holocaust was happening. Her maiden name was ?Eleberger?. Her father was a hard working man, since he had to support a family of eight. He was an owner of a mill, that harvested wheat and barely. The mill had been pasted down in the family for a few generations.
The first time Freda heard the name Hitler was when she was only twelve. The name Hitler scared her, she found out about Hitler after he had been killing other Jews so she knew he was a threat to her and her family. The Germans occupied he town in 1941around the fall and wintertime. She was around fifteen at this time. As the soldiers invaded their town, they began to throw stones at their windows and yelled at them to come out of their houses. The soldier said they could bring one suitcase each, with some food and some clothes. At this point they had no idea where they were going they just listen to what the soldier said to do because they were afraid of death.
The soldier had taking them to a ghetto. There they moved into a two-room house that was shared by them and their uncle’s family. While in this ghetto the first program happened, also called a selection, were they soldier go through the town and hand pick the people they want to work for them and the rest are kid. During this selection, her and a few of her brothers and sisters ran into the forest. It was easy for them to escape because their house was located right on the end near the forest, and the soldiers entered the town from the other way, so they just had to run fast. Her mother and father and youngest sister hide in the chimney. The Jews that were not fortunate to get away were killed. They were killed by placing tens Jews deep and shooting them all at once with one bullet. The soldiers said the Jews weren’t worth wasting bullets on.
Their whole family was lucky to survive the first program. Life in the ghetto was getting better; they began to make a routine of it. The only thing that was bothering them was their hunger it was unbearable. Shortly after things have been getting better their father died of typhus. It was a rough time for the whole family, for their father to be able to beat the soldiers and then die of that. It was also very hard because their family was very close to their father, he meant a lot to all of them.
Stories of another program were being spread around, the moment they heard about this, the children left the house for the forest again. The program didn?t happen until the morning. After the entire soldiers left the town, they returned back to their house. They couldn’t find their mother; she must have been taking in at the selection.
Once they couldn?t find their mom, they went to the graveyard looking for her, but they didn?t find her. The whole family was a mess after this news, now both of their parents were dead and they had to survive by themselves with the help of other Jews nice enough to. Ten days later there was a surprise program, the third and final, not know to them though. This selection was a big surprise because it was during the day like no other one. There were people running every which way, just hoping to escape. Freda ran into the forest by herself. She then found herself at one of her parent’s friend’s house who were Gentiles. She stayed there for a few days, as she stayed there she had to hide her Jewish background to the whole community or she was be taking in by the police. One Sunday they brought her to church, and she was unsure of the process of the Catholic Church and people found out she was Jewish. She then found out the cops were after her so she had to run back to her ghetto and she met up with her brothers and sisters.
Germans then made them move to another camp. This camp was called Llagar. They moved there by foot, it seemed to be a long an exhausting trip, many people died along the way of lack of energy and starvation. There she witnessed her own brother’s death. He was tied to a horse and drug around the town and then beaten to death. The soldiers then separated the Jews from the Gentiles. There were about twelve Jews left after this time, the soldiers were then order to dig a whole for the Jews. They were to be killed and then placed in the wholes dug out. The soldier then decided not to kill them and they were let go. Right before she left this camp, she witnessed a little girl’s death. She was murdered because she was caught stealing a loaf of bread. The soldiers came up to her and shoot her in the head without hesitation.
After she escaped from almost being killed she went back to her parents friends house that took her in before to ask for some food. Her parent’s friends refused to give her food and responded by saying ?you killed Jesus?, you don?t deserve food. Freda didn?t know how to respond to that, she was only around the age of 16, she didn?t understand how she could be accused of killing Jesus when it was near 2000 years ago.
Freda couldn?t live in the barracks anymore it was too dangerous, the soldiers were always in the ghettos killing people. She was forced to run away and live in the forest again, but this time it was different she was alone, she was so cold and there was no food, she is still surprised she survived. She was then brought to another camp, it was during the winter and also there was no food, and no place to hide. One day they saw Russian tanks, they all ran to them and told them their story and what the Germans are doing to them. The Russians transported them to a safe Jewish community free of Germans. As the Russians transported them out of the ghettos, the Germans began to bombard the town, killing most of the Jews and a lot of the Russians. Freda then moved in with this one family which provided her with shelter and food. This shelter gave Freda a chance to get things back together for herself. She began working for this one Gentile, she would wash dishes for him and he would give her food. Shortly later Poland was liberated from Russia.
During the interview with Freda Friedman, she was very emotional about the whole situation. Although it was not a typical interview, in which we sat there and asked her questions and she gave us answers. It was an interview that we watch a film of her being interview by the directing committee of Schindler’s List, and also she helped explain a few things when we were unsure about them. But mostly we just watched the movie because she was very hesitant about the interview. She was also hesitant about doing the interview with Stephen Spielberg, but her husband, who was also in a concentration camp, Auschwitz, convinced her it would be a good thing to do.
Recently Freda and her husband, Joe, took a trip back to Freda’s homeland, Poland, in 1985. The trip was sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Association. At first they were unsure about going back to Poland because they didn’t want to relive there pass experience, the same way she felt about doing the interview. After coming to an agreement and deciding to take the trip, they ended up visiting Gdansk, her hometown, Warsaw, Krakow and a few other sites in the polish countryside. One of there stops on the way was one of the ghetto’s Freda lived at. When she visit this ghetto, she was very disappointed how things were in particular. She was also very upset that there was not a memorial to commemorate the Jews who were put through all that misery.
Though out the whole interview with Freda, there was a sense of uncertainty and hesitance as she told her story and as we listen. The way she communicated with us and her body language gave us ideas that she was very uncomfortable talking about it. She also let us know they rarely do interviews because after they do one, there is a period of a few days that they have dreams about the Holocaust and relive what they’ve already been though.