Warning! The text retains the original spelling of surnames and place names by an Israeli researcher; in many cases it may not be correct. Fragments that could contain current personal data have been removed from the interview.

23/06/2008

Interviewee Name: Frida Kliger (nee Lorberbaum). Date of Birth: 14.03.1921. Place of Birth: Warsaw.

Frida Kliger's (nee Lorberbaum) parents Mordechai Michel Lorberbaum and Chana Lorberbaum (nee Mandelkern) were both born in Koriv (?) [Kurów] town close to Lublin. Mordechai was born in 1890 and Chana was born ~1890. Frida is the descendent of the famous Rabbi Shmuel (Shmil) Koriva (of Koriv [Kurów]).

Frida was the youngest of the four children in her family. Her oldest sister was Gutta (Miriam Gittla) born in 1912/3 and was married to Chaim Shlezinger. They had a baby boy named Eliezer. Frida's second sister was Bat Sheva (Sabina), born in 1915. Frida's brother Leon (Shlomo Leibale) was born in 1917. Frida's mother Chana died when she was a young girl.

Frida's maternal grandparents, Mendel and Chaya Mandelkern owned a large cotton manufacturing company in Koriv [Kurów]. They also had a cotton oil production hall on their property where Polish farmers would press their cotton into oil. They also owned several houses in the town.

In Koriv [Kurów], Frida's father Mordechai had intended to become a rabbi. He had received his "Smicha" (rabbi's certification) from the well-known and respected Yeshiva in Lublin. However, he decided to become a textile merchant and earn his own living, and not live on a community paid salary. At one point, around 1924, Mordechai set off to Argentina to check out the possibilities of emigration. He soon returned to Poland and remained there with his family.

Mordechai used to read newspapers in Hebrew, Yiddish and Polish and he also knew Russian. At home Frida's family spoke Yiddish. Her father used to ask her to write his letters in Polish since she had a nice handwriting. Frida's sister Gutta studied calligraphy. Frida's father always took great pride in his children. He remarried an older childless woman.

Frida attended a Catholic Polish girls school in Warsaw, since it was close to her home. The rest of the Jewish children in her building used to travel to the Jewish school in another part of the city. For several years, Frida was the only Jewish pupil in her school. She was a very talented and smart student. She achieved the best grades in every subject. She was supposed to receive a high school stipend but when a new substitute anti-Semitic teacher arrived in the last year of her studies, Frida was discriminated against and lost the long awaited scholarship. When the old teacher came back to school it was too late to reverse the outcome and later on when Frida's sister came to protest to the teacher, she was told that "the own body is closer than the gown" indicating that she had to give the stipend to a Polish pupil who was part of her nation rather than give it to a Jew.

Frida's step-mother insisted that she did not need to go to high school. Instead she persuaded her to learn a trade. Finally Frida was able to attend a Jewish Technical school that was run by the help of Jewish philanthropists. Frida remembers the good teachers she had at school, one of them was Prof. Zomber for Math. After attending that school for two years Frida was admitted into the KPZ – a course for learning a trade. It was a Polish public institution and there were very few Jews attending that course. Frida didn't experience any anti-Semitism at that school.

In Warsaw, Frida's father Mordechai opened a grocery shop in a neighborhood where no grocery shop had existed before. The family lived on top of his store at Ulica Przyokopowa 56. The business was extremely successful. Prior to important Christian holidays, Mordechai would travel to Koriv [Kurów] and bring back eggs with him to sell to the locals for their cakes and other rituals.

On Sundays, young students, Jews and Poles would gather at Frida's home, where they had tea and cookies. One of the Polish students, Pani (?) Sigmund, helped Frida tune her mandolin. Once in 1933, on a Monday, after visiting Frida's home, the same Polish students blocked the grocery store and shouted anti-Semitic slogans warning the customers not to buy from Jews. Frida approached one of those students, Pani Sigmund, wanting to understand the paradoxical situation. All she was told was to go away and leave him alone. After that incident Frida's father decided to leave the neighborhood and move into the Jewish quarter in Warsaw. He sold the store and the family relocated to Zamenhofa Street 12. One day Frida saw Pani Sigmund walking on Nalewki Street. He said he was sorry and was looking for her family. Frida told him she wanted nothing to do with him and sent him away.

Before the 2nd World War broke out, Frida was a member of the Poaley Zion Zionist youth movement. With the German invasion of Warsaw, a young relative of Frida named Arbes was kidnapped by the Germans. During the war Frida was in Auschwitz. Her number was 48427. Only she and her sister Bat Sheva (Sabina) survived from the entire family.

After the 2nd World War Frida experienced another case of Polish hatred toward Jews. On the border of Poland, young Polish women, who too were prisoners in concentration camps, said it was a pity that Hitler had not finished the job. After hearing that Frida wanted to immediately leave Poland and head for Palestine.

In 1947, via a DP Camp in Bergen Belsen, where she married Yerahmiel Ronek Kliger, and the detention camp in Cyprus, Frida finally arrived in Palestine.

In Palestine Frida started to learn Hebrew and intended to open her own kindergarten. She was faced with bureaucratic difficulties and was never able to pursue her dream. Frida's sister Bat Sheva initially stayed in Poland after the war until the Kielce pogrom in 1946, when she set off first to Germany and from there to the USA.

In 1958, Frida and her family left Israel to join her sister in the USA. They settled in New York where they lived for fifteen years. Today both of Frida's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren live in the USA.

At first, Frida opposed the organized youth trips to Poland, but finally her daughter persuaded her to go. Together with her husband they all visited Poland in 1989, the 60th anniversary of the war. After that experience, Frida changed her mind and now encourages people to visit Poland.

Drukuj