Jewish survivors of the Holocaust

Franks, Henrietta (1 of 3) Holocaust Survivor Centre Interviews

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  • Recording date

    2002-09-30, 2002-10-06

  • Is part of (Collection)

    Holocaust Survivor Centre Interviews

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, London

  • Interviewees

    Franks, Henrietta, 1923- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Jackman, Micky (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Born Henrietta Grunbaum in Cologne on 29/6/1923. Father - Jacob born in Schenowitz (Poland) 10/8/1894. Mother - Helena Slotzina - born near Lodz (Poland) on Yom Kippur 1904 - moved to Germany at six months of age. Brother - Alfred born 1/12/1925; Sister - Greta born 16/5/1926 Maternal Grandfather: David Abraham Slotzina came from Poland with three children (Herman, Moritz and Helena) and then had another three children in Germany (Anna, Salomon, Berta). Had a removal business. Soon after arrival in Germany bought a big house. Wife died at 40 from cancer leaving husband with three small children, the youngest 9. Remarried a much younger woman, Marta, and had more children. Grandfather died in Auschwitz in 1942, his wife Marta died soon after the liberation of Terezin. Their youngest was born in Belgium (1939) and only 3 when the parents were taken in 1942. His name was Zigbart which he later changed to Gilbert. His older brother (Salomon) looked after him, Herman wanted Salomon and Gilbert to come to Caracas but it didn't work out. Henrietta's family was traditional, not orthodox. The grandfather's two sisters (Frieda and Charna) were orthodox. Grandfather was in the Russian army before immigrating to Cologne. Another two of his sister went to USA. They tried to take the family to the USA but didn't succeed. On the paternal side, Jacob had a brother and sister. Sister had many children. One daughter survived Belsen and came to England. Jacob was on his way to England (had lots of family here), stopped in Germany because he'd run out of money and stayed there. Henrietta went to stay with a cousin in London and sister went to other relatives and went to school (JFS). Parents went to Belgium illegally. Father was a master tailor and had a workshop and employed people. On Kristallnacht they were on the top floor of the house hiding and heard the glass break. In 1933 when Hitler was fighting the communists they shot through the window and a bullet was found on Henrietta's bed. Henrietta went to a Jewish school in Cologne, first to the Yavneh Moriah and later to the LutzovStrasse School. She left at 14 and wanted to study dressmaking and design but the Jewish quota was full. Went to learn/work with a woman until Kristallmacht. Didn't feel anti-Semitism around her. Neighbours were helpful. A German tailor brought work for her father. This tailor took her father to his place after Kristallnacht for a few days. After Kristannacht, mother and children went to stay for a few days with father's Jewish apprentice who lived out of town. Mother asked her uncles in London to take the children in. Both girls left first on a Kindertransport and went to family. Brother came later and stayed with strangers until war broke out, then went into a hostel and was evacuated to Margate. After the war went to the Minister Road Hostel. Henrietta went into the ATS at 19 into a platoon of refugee children. Parents had papers in their hands to come to England but there was a hitch (which she didn't wish to talk about). When the girls arrived in Liverpool Street their relatives were late collecting. She learnt Yiddish with the relatives. Henrietta lived in the West End, her sister in the East End. Family were close, they always saw each other. Sister went to JFS and was evacuated to Littlehampton to a family who was wonderful to her. She came back to London aged 14 and went to work in the clothes manufacturing industry. Parents went illegally to Belgium in 1939, father had been put in prison in Cologne for being a Jew (for 8 days). Mother got him out and then he was taken to prison again. After that he went with this brother and a smuggler to Antwerp. Mother went soon after with a cousin. Grandfather (maternal) was in Brussels with second wife and children and parents moved there as well. As Hitler approached they ran away to Vichy, France.

  • Related links

    Voices of the Holocaust - link to learning materials based on the moving stories of Jewish Holocaust Survivors on the British Library Website

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