Friedman (Stern), Doris

Friedman (Stern), Doris

Mukacheve (Ukraine), Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen

Friedman was born in 1921 in Mukachevo, Czechoslovakia, to an observant Jewish family, the eldest of three daughters. Her father owned a delivery business. She went to Czech schools and apprenticed as a seamstress after completing the eighth grade. She remembers her father attending Zionist meetings and expressing concern about the ability of Israel to exist among the Arabs.

After her family was incarcerated in the ghetto, Friedman recalls turning down an offer from a gentile neighbor to escape. On the deportation train, she despaired and wanted to kill herself but her mother told her she must try to live. She remembers being taken out of the cattle cars at night in Auschwitz and that Mengele made the selection, separating her and her sister from their mother.

Friedman and her sister spent several months in C Lager, Block 13, until being transferred to B Lager, where she recalls fasting for Yom Kippur. In December they were taken by train to Bergen-Belsen and then to a munitions factory at Braunschweig. Throughout the winter they worked.

The final months of the war were spent being shuffled around on various trains throughout Germany. At one point Friedman and her sister were unloaded and almost executed in a large field. Later they came under the control of the Wehrmacht, and eventually the train was released to the Danes. The Danes put the prisoners on regular trains and then took them by boat to Sweden. In Sweden the sisters were treated for their health problems. Friedman contacted an uncle living in Detroit, and he immediately arranged for visas and plane tickets. Friedman and her sister arrived in Detroit in 1945.

Interview Information:
Date: July 12, 1983
Interviewer: Kay Roth
Format: Audio recording