Betty Grossman Goodfriend was born in Vilkija, Lithuania. She was one of nine children. When she was a baby her family moved to Klaipeda (Memel) which was then in Lithuania near the border of Germany. When the Germans reacquired Klaipeda in March 1939 the family returned to Vilkija. In 1940 the Russians took over the area. In June 1941 Betty was in Kovno, Lithuania just about to start high school when the Germans occupied Kovno. Betty and her brother and his wife decided they would try to walk to the border and cross into Russia. They were unable to make it and had to return to Kovno where they were pushed into the ghetto when it was set up on August 15, 1941. Betty, her brother and his wife survived the Aktions that culminated on October 28, 1941 and became part of the some 17,000 Jews who were saved to labor for the Germans. In June 1943 Kovno was officially turned into a labor camp with several satellite camps, including Kedainiai/Kedan. Betty was apparently working outside the ghetto because she returned one day in August, 1943 to find her brother and sister-in-law gone. Her family had already been murdered in Vilkija on August 28, 1941. They had been taken out into the forest and shot. She was alone. When Betty discovered that her brother and his wife had been shipped to Kedainiai/Kedan, she asked to be sent there to be with them as she had no one else and was granted her wish. She probably left Kovno in a second transport on August 20, 1943. However, she was not able to be re-united with her brother because she was put to work in a German laundry in a local high school where Betty helped to smuggle guns into the camp for the resistance. In July 1944, Betty and other female Jewish prisoners were shipped to Stutthof concentration camp in Germany, where they were registered and then put to work digging trenches for the German army. When winter came the girls literally froze. Bettyâ€™s only shoes were rags from her dress wrapped around her feet. She was forced to march out of Stutthof in the last month of the war and barely survived until she and several friends were liberated by the Russians. Eventually she made her way to Berlin, where she met and married her husband, Isaac Goodfriend. The Goodfriends immigrated first to Canada and then to the United States were Isaac became the cantor of the Ahavath Achim congregation in Atlanta. They had three sons: Marc, Enoch and Perry. Betty died in 2008 and Isaac in 2009.
OHC-Betty Grossman Goodfriend
Betty Grossman Goodfriend ( - 2008) - Oral History