Isadore and his wife, Sossia, had seven sons. The Frenkiels, a religious Jewish family, lived in a one-room apartment in a town near Warsaw called Gabin. Like most Jewish families in Gabin, they lived in the town's center, near the synagogue. Isadore was a self-employed cap maker, selling his caps at the town's weekly market. He also fashioned caps for the police and military.
1933-39: Isadore felt the pinch of the Depression, but although business was poor, he was able to provide for his family. Shortly after the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, they occupied Gabin. Ten people were shot in the street; others, such as doctors and teachers, were taken away. The Germans rounded up the Jewish men and held them in the marketplace while soldiers doused the synagogue with gasoline and set it on fire.
1940-42: In 1941 the Frenkiels heard rumors that the Germans were evacuating some towns and deporting the Jews to a death camp. A cousin visited the family after escaping from a transport and said the rumors were true. "They put you in trucks, gas you, then throw your body into a burning pit," he said. Isadore's 3-year-old son ran to his mother crying, "Will they burn me, too?" Isadore urged his cousin to tell the Jewish elders. He met with them, but they did not believe his story and told him to leave town.
In May 1942 Gabin's Jews were deported to the Chelmno killing center. Isadore, Sossia and four of their sons were placed in a sealed van and asphyxiated with exhaust fumes.