Frederic Bernard

Frederic Bernard

Born: August 7, 1912

Cernauti, Romania

Frederic was born to a Jewish family in Czernowitz (Chernovtsy). His father was head clerk in a lawyer's office and his mother was a pianist. Frederic's parents were active in Czernowitz's sizable Jewish community. In 1930 Frederic began medical studies at the German University in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

1933-39: Frederic left Prague in 1933. He went to France and then Italy to finish his studies and graduated in 1936. He wanted to leave Europe to escape Hitler and tried to do so by applying to the British Medical Council for membership. But the plan never panned out. From Italy Frederic returned to Czernowitz, then part of Romania, and obtained a license to practice medicine in Romania.

1940-44: In 1940 Frederic married Gusti Klier. As the Nazis advanced in 1941, they were deported to Transnistria. From there they tried to escape to Hungary but were caught in southern Poland in the town of Koroluvka, where there was a Jewish ghetto. Frederic got permission to live and practice medicine outside the ghetto in the nearby town of Bilcze Zlota. In April 1942 he returned to the ghetto in Koroluvka. When the ghetto was liquidated he survived by hiding in an attic and then slipping away to the forest, where he was sheltered by members of the Polish underground. In 1943 he joined a Soviet partisan group led by Sidor Kovpak.

In 1944 Frederic joined the newly formed Second Polish Army. After the war, Frederic lived for several years in Italy. In 1949 he and his wife immigrated to the United States.

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