Frimit Bursztyn

Frimit Bursztyn

Born: April 15, 1918

Warsaw, Poland

Frimit was one of eight children born to Yiddish-speaking, religious Jewish parents. The Bursztyns lived in the heart of the same Jewish neighborhood in Warsaw where Frimit's father owned and operated a bakery located on Zamenhofa Street. In 1920 the Bursztyns moved to a comfortable, two-bedroom apartment in the same neighborhood at 47 Mila Street. Frimit attended Warsaw public schools.

1933-39: By 1939 six of my brothers and sisters had already moved out. Only my younger brother and I were left at home, and we were enjoying our parents' undivided attention. I had finished school and had lots of friends. My father had given up his business and was working at Warsaw's excellent Kagan Bakery. Nothing could have prepared us for the German invasion in September 1939. Our city was surrendered on September 28.

1940-44: Our apartment was in the heart of the Warsaw ghetto, which was closed off by the Germans in November 1940. I was deported on May 1, 1943, to the Majdanek concentration camp. There, smoke from the crematoria clouded the skies and hung over the prisoners. My fingers became broken and disfigured as, day after day, I and five other women pushed a heavy wagon filled with manure across the fields surrounding the camp. If we worked too slowly, we were flogged with a bullwhip. We fertilized those fields with our bare hands.

Over the next two years Frimit was deported to seven more Nazi camps. She was liberated in the Turkheim labor camp on April 27, 1945. In 1949 she immigrated to the United States.