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Atlanta, Georgia
December 15, 1995
21 pages
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Cantor Isaac Goodfriend was born in Piotrkow, Poland in 1924. His father's name was Szoel and his motehrs name was Pesse Lipschitz. He had two sisters and two brothers: Hinda Brindel, Henoch Dovid, Sara Malka and Yechiel Yaakov. He was the oldest. The entire family, both maternal and paternal, was in the dry goods business. His family lived with his maternal grandparents in Piotrków until Isaac was one year old and then moved to Łódź, where his father started his own dry goods business. The Goodfriends were very Orthodox and religious traditions and observations dominated every part of their lives, especially honoring the Sabbath. Isaac attended cheder and yeshiva in Łódź and after his bar mitzvah he was sent to Sosnowiec to study in an advanced yeshiva. He returned to Łódź in 1938. In early September 1939 the residents of Lodz rose to the sound of German planes flying overheard and air raid sirens. However, the city was never bombed and quickly surrendered. Isaac watched the Germans march into town from his grandfather’s balcony. Almost immediately Szoel’s dry goods store was stripped clean by a former business associate who was a Volksdeutsche (ethnic German living in Poland). Then came restrictions on movement, curfews, harassment and cruel abuse on the streets, food shortages, and an order to wear the yellow Star of David. The synagogues in Łódź were burned down by the Germans. The Goodfriend family briefly discussed fleeing to Russia but with elderly parents and small children Szoel decided it was inadvisable. When, in December 1940, the ghetto fence started going up right next to their house, the Goodfriend family knew finally there was no future for Jews in Łódź. They made their way to Piotrków in the winter of 1940, where Isaac’s mother’s family lived and where they believed they might be safer. There was a ghetto too but for a while it was less restrictive. The family survived by bartering currency and yarn. Then it all started to arrive there as well. Isaac’s father got typhoid fever and died in 1941. Isaac was now the head of the family. He was sent to work at the Kara glass factory, one of four factories in Piotrków in which the Jews slaved for the Germans. One day the Germans sent the laborers home and told them to pack a backpack and return to the factory in one hour. Isaac knew something was up. He wanted to stay with his family in the ghetto, but they refused and insisted that he return to the factory. He had prepared a hiding place for them that could only be reached by climbing outside and going in through a hole in the roof. They thought it was safe. The next day the Germans liquidated the Piotrków ghetto. After a search with dogs they found Isaac’s family and they were shot in the woods outside town. Isaac heard the news in the factory and wanted to give up but managed to go on. At the end of 1943 Isaac realized that the Kara camp was about to be liquidated and made plans to escape with his friend Pinya. Both boys slipped over a fence and made their way to the farm of a local Pole named Marcinkowski. Marcinkowski was already hiding several members of Isaac’s family and several other Jews. He let Isaac and Pinya stay and because they didn’t look “Jewish” they were able to work in the fields. It was hard work but they were pleased to do it. The area was liberated by the Russians in January 1945. After the war Isaac traveled to Berlin, where he met his wife, Betty, a fellow survivor. The Goodfriends immigrated to Paris and Canada and finally settled in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States, where he became a world-class cantor at Ahavath Achim Congregation.

OHC-Isaac Goodfriend (Cantor) (2)

Isaac Goodfriend (Cantor) (1924 - 2009) - Oral History

18 Related Subjects

Piotrkow, Poland

Slave Labor Camps: Poland
World War, 1939-1945

Goodfriend, Isaac, 1924-2009
Cantors - Judaism

Piotrkow (Ghettos: Poland)
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945); Ghettos: Poland


Holocaust Survivors

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Hiding

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Righteous Gentiles

Slave Labor
World War, 1939-1945

World War, 1939-1945

Jews - Persecution


Lodz (Ghettos: Poland)
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945); Ghettos: Poland

Rumkowski, Chaim, -1945

Kara Glass Factory (Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland)
Slave Labor Camps: Poland; Glass Industry and Trade

Typhus Fever

Treblinka (Death Camps: Poland)
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945); Death Camps: Poland

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