October 19, 1920 — Michaelnbach, Austria
Frieda was the fourth of five children born to strict Catholic parents. She had one brother and three sisters. Frieda grew up on a large farm near the village of Michaelnbach in northern Austria. The farm had cattle, horses, pigs and poultry, and the children worked long hours helping their parents on the farm. At age 12, Frieda left school to work full time on the farm.
1933-39: Germany annexed Austria in March 1938. When war broke out in September 1939, my brother was drafted into the German army. Because we were short of help, my father filled out an application to get farm workers from Poland. Two Polish laborers arrived in December, an older man and a young man named Julian. We taught them German and what to do on the farm. Julian was a fast learner and very friendly.
1940-44: Julian and I fell in love. My father objected--it was against the law for us to be friendly with Poles. To protect him, I agreed to move to another farm. Though we risked arrest, we kept meeting. When I found that I didn't like working on that farm, I applied for a factory job. But my boss found out and got angry. He told the Gestapo about me and Julian, and we were arrested. In November 1941 I was deported as a political prisoner to Ravensbrueck, a concentration camp for women.
Frieda was released from Ravensbrueck in August 1943. Reunited after the war, Frieda and Julian married on April 24, 1946. They emigrated to the United States in 1948.
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