Frieda Greinegger

Frieda Greinegger

Born: October 19, 1920

Michaelnbach, Austria

Frieda was the fourth of five children born to strict Catholic parents. She had one brother and three sisters. Frieda grew up on a large farm near the village of Michaelnbach in northern Austria. The farm had cattle, horses, pigs and poultry, and the children worked long hours helping their parents on the farm. At age 12, Frieda left school to work full time on the farm.

1933-39: Germany annexed Austria in March 1938. When war broke out in September 1939, Frieda's brother was drafted into the German army. Because Frieda's family was short of help, her father filled out an application to get farm workers from Poland. Two Polish laborers arrived in December, an older man and a young man named Julian. Frieda and her family taught them German and what to do on the farm. Julian was a fast learner and very friendly.

1940-44: Julian and Frieda fell in love. Her father objected--it was against the law for them to be friendly with Poles. To protect him, she agreed to move to another farm. Though they risked arrest, Frieda and Julian kept meeting. When she found that she didn't like working on that farm, she applied for a factory job. But her boss found out and got angry. He told the Gestapo about her and Julian, and they were arrested. In November 1941 Frieda was deported as a political prisoner to Ravensbrueck, a concentration camp for women.

Frieda was released from Ravensbrueck in August 1943. Reunited after the war, Frieda and Julian married on April 24, 1946. They immigrated to the United States in 1948.