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

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