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Atlanta, Georgia
March 20, 2006
38 pages
Friedman Henry OHC.JPG

Henry Friedman was born in Oradea Mare, Romania in 1923. His father was named Alexander and his mother was called Ester Zuckerman. Henry had an older brother, Stephen, and a sister, Clara. Henry had a happy and comfortable childhood. His father was in the insurance industry and Henry aspired to become a textile engineer. He attended Jewish schools and belonged to various youth Zionist organizations. Oradea Mare was ceded to Hungary in 1940 and the name of the city was changed to Nagy Varad. Life under the Hungarians wasn't easy as there was much antisemitism, but it got worse when the Germans occupied Hungary in May 1944. One month after the Germans arrived Henry received a notice that he had been drafted into forced labor for the Hungarian army. He reported and was put to work in a foundry. The work was dangerous and Henry became covered with infected burns. After he was badly beaten he was sent to a hospital in Budapest, Hungary. After three months in the hospital, Henry heard about Raoul Wallenberg, who was issuing Swedish passes to Hungarian Jews that allowed them to be protected by the Swedish government. Henry got a Swedish pass and continued working in the foundry. However, during the final months of the war and despite his Swedish protection pass, the factory in which Henry was working was bombed into rubble and he was placed on a death march into Germany. Henry struggled shoeless through the snow while all around him, people died of exhaustion and hunger. An emissary from Wallenberg managed to get the group returned to Budapest where Henry and the others were forced into a ghetto. They would have starved if the Swedes had not provided food for them. Henry was taken from the ghetto by the Germans and put to work in the mountains around the city. His job was to take warm food to the soldiers and return the dead to the city. In the middle of a battle Henry was injured in his leg by a piece of shrapnel. He was not allowed to receive medical help and crawled back down the mountain to safety against German orders. He found a civilian hospital where he was treated. He was discovered by the Germans and with two other men was put onto a cart and taken to a cemetery. There the three men were shot, including Henry. Henry awoke under the bodies of the other two men. He had been wounded in the shoulder and left for dead but he was still alive. He stayed under the bodies of the dead men all night sheltering against the freezing cold. Henry returned to the civilian hospital where he hid under piles of coal in the basement. During the day he hid in the coal room while at night he went out to find food and scrape up snow for drinking water. He found a new hiding place in a morgue. When the Soviet army arrived Henry left his hiding place. Two weeks later Henry was marched out by the Russians. Their destination was Siberia. Henry escaped from the group and took shelter with a sympathetic good samaritan. Henry returned to Budapest and finally got treatment for his infected leg. Of his family, only he survived. Henry made his way to Milan, Italy from which he immigrated to Atlanta in the United States. Henry recalls antisemitism in Romania and Hungary, his experiences during the war, working as a slave laborer for the Hungarians and Germans, his narrow escape from his German executioners, his liberation and post-war life including his immigration to the United States. He attributes his survival to the blessing he received from a rabbi before he reported to be drafted into forced labor for the Hungarian army.

OHC-Henry Friedman

Henry Friedman (1923 - ) - Oral History

54 Related Subjects

Nagy Varad, Hungary

Concentration Camps: Poland
World War, 1939-1945

Slave Labor
World War, 1939-1945

Holocaust Survivors

Gone With the Wind
Books; Motion Pictures

World War, 1939-1945 - Concentration Camps: Country

Aerial Operations--Bombardment
World War, 1939-1945

Friedman, Henry, 1923-


Oradea Mare, Romania



Arad (Romania)

Jewish-Christian Relations

Slave Labor Camps: Hungary
World War, 1939-1945

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)

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Youth--Societies and Clubs

Jewish schools

Engineers (Civil, Industrial, etc.)

Star of David badges

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Metal Industry and Trade

Air Raids, Allied

Wallenberg, Raoul, 1912-1947

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Rescue


Death Marches
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Ghettos: Hungary
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Hiding

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Rome (Italy)

Naples (Italy)

Motion Pictures

Jewish Progressive Club (Atlanta, Ga.)

Food Industry and Trade

Wholesale Trade

Law firms

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Orthodox Judaism
Jewish Sects

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United States

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Emigration and Immigration

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