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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 24 years old when Nazi Germany invaded her country and her home town, Mińsk Mazowiecki, became part of the Generalgouvernement. Sarah had seven siblings, three sisters and four brothers. As was the case with many Jewish families in the midst of radical persecution, the Froiman family was torn asunder. Sarah's parents were most likely murdered in the liquidation of the Mińsk ghetto in the summer of 1942; most children, however, managed to survive the murder wave, and secure temporary labor in the Rudzki plant in town.1 Rudzki was a bridge-building company that had been taken over by Krupp during the Nazi occupation; the local Mińsk plant became a labor camp in which most survivors of the ghetto liquidation were forced to work. Sarah Froiman found herself there along with her brothers Isidore and Mordechai, and sister Etele.

In May 1943, Isidore decided to flee the camp; he left with Leyb Rochman, another camp inmate. They managed to find a hiding place close to the village of Dobre, some 15 miles north of Mińsk. They survived the Holocaust; Rochman's diary of their hiding was translated from Yiddish and published in 1983.2

About a month later, Sarah sent a letter from the camp addressed to her friends and her brother Isidore. It is unclear how Isidore received the letter and who the "friends" were—beyond the fact that the Yiddish word in the salutation makes it clear that it is addressed to female friends. It is also unclear why two different pieces of communication (to Isidore and to friends) were sent in a single message. Isidore received the message, and kept it throughout the war—a dangerous decision for a Jew in hiding in Poland in 1943 and 1944. Sarah's letter is barely legible—it is impossible to read it in its entirety, as the frequent ellipses in our translation testify—but it hints at her main preoccupations: the fate of the family, the well-being of her brother, the uncertain consequences of his radical act of flight, a hope that they can be saved, despite everything.

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

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
Froiman, Sarah
Language(s)
Yiddish
Location
Minsk Mazowiecki, Poland
Reference Location
Prusy, Poland
Document Type Letter
Description A letter that Sarah Froiman sent to her brother and some friends in Minsk Mazowiecki from the labor camp in town.
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