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Wartime Correspondence

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Letter from Sarah Froiman to her Friends and Brother

Froiman, Sarah letter 1943
US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Sarah Froiman was twenty-four years old when German troops invaded Poland in 1939. Her hometown, Mińsk Mazowiecki, became part of an occupied area known as the Generalgouvernement.

The Froiman family was soon faced with the increasingly murderous policies of the occupation administration. Sarah's parents were most likely killed when the Mińsk ghetto was destroyed in the summer of 1942. Sarah and a few of her siblings managed to survive the wave of murders and secured temporary labor in the Rudzki plant in town.1 She found herself there along with her brothers Isadore and Mordechai and her sister Etele.

In May 1943, Isadore decided to flee the camp. He left with Leyb Rochman, another Jewish prisoner. They managed to find a hiding place close to the village of Dobre, about 15 miles north of Mińsk.2

About a month later, Sarah sent a letter from the camp addressed to her friends and her brother Isadore. It is unclear how Isadore received the letter and who the friends were, though the form of address indicates that they were women. It is also unclear why two different pieces of communication (to Isadore and to friends) were sent in a single message. Isadore received the message, and kept it throughout the war—a dangerous decision for a Jew in hiding in Poland. Sarah's letter is barely legible—it is impossible to read it in its entirety, as the frequent ellipses in the translation show. The text concerns the fate of the family, the well-being of her brother, the uncertain consequences of his flight, and a hope that they can be saved in spite of everything.

In June 1943, the Germans murdered the Jewish workers of the Rudzki factory, including Sarah and her siblings. Other siblings died at different periods in the Warsaw ghetto and Treblinka. Isadore was the sole survivor of the Froiman family.

Rudzki was a bridge-building company that had been taken over by the Krupp company during the Nazi occupation. The local Mińsk plant became a labor camp in which most survivors from the ghetto were forced to work. For more, see the USHMM Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos.

Leyb and Isadore both survived the Holocaust. Rochman's diary of their hiding was translated from Yiddish and published in 1983. Leyb Rochman, The Pit and the Trap: A Chronicle of Survival, trans. Moshe Kohn (New York: Holocaust Library, 1983).

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Best of friends,

Taking advantage of the opportunity, in case you remember us, I write these greetings […] words with much appreciation that you are at least interested in our fate. Ah! What suffering we already experienced since the time when we parted from Srule, accompanied by the one thought of what lay before us and not having any real opportunity to save ourselves. You already know about Michael […], and also my sister Etele has already been saved from death because she was on the way to Prusy as a Christian woman, and she was discovered. Imagine what she experienced before we spotted her back again at the Rudzki factory […] still want to be together for a longer time so that we could further spin the threads of our lives, although life is not presenting itself to us anymore in such […] We are […] from your […]. […] […]. It is like […] for us […].

[…] We implore you, please, as soon as you have any opportunity to help us, do not abandon us, for which we all thank you very much. One day we will […] our impressions […] sincere greetings […] sincere greetings.

Sarah Froiman.

Dear brother, finally after […] these thoughts, we received greetings from you. We take notice of your answer and your action. If we had foreseen that you would act that way and not otherwise, we would all have wanted […]. Now, as for my health, it's […] better. With regards to Etele […] took place. When you left, you […] much death that we have experienced, namely, […]. You also wrote about […]—I'm telling you that only with […] go in […] if […].

Maybe […] find somewhere to hide and if not we are lost. We don't have enough money to save ourselves with such […]. Maybe it will suffice to go with […] or with Uncle, and if not, we will rely on […]. Now, we're sending you […].

I hope that […]

Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
RG Number 10.179
Date Created
June 1943
Author / Creator
Sarah Froiman
Minsk Mazowiecki, Poland
Reference Location
Prusy, Poland
Document Type Letter
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