Frederick Fleszar

Frederick Fleszar

Born: July 2, 1916

Syracuse, United States

Frederick was the oldest of two sons born to Polish immigrants in Syracuse, New York. In 1922 Frederick's father, who was a musician, moved the family back to Poland where they settled in Poznan. There Frederick started public school and was accepted to the boys section of the prestigious Poznan Cathedral Choir.

1933-39: In 1933, at age 17, Frederick graduated from secondary school and enrolled in medical school at the university at Poznan. He sang with the choir for the last time the day he graduated from medical school, on June 30, 1939. On September 1, 18 days before he was to report for compulsory military duty, Germany invaded Poland. That October he was interned by the Germans with other draft-age males in an underground fort in the suburbs of Torun.

1940: In 1940, while Frederick was interned, his brother helped him contact the U.S. embassy in Warsaw. Before proof of his U.S. citizenship could arrive, he was sent to the Stutthof concentration camp. The next day he was told that as an American he was being released. Frederick was driven to Bydgoszcz to be discharged and put in jail for the night. The next morning as he was taken to the gate, a guard struck his ears with half-opened fists, rupturing his eardrums.

Frederick suffered irreparable hearing damage. After his release, Frederick opened a medical practice in Warsaw. He moved back to the United States in 1947.