Tonight the teenagers who are going with me on the March of the Living got to hear from a real hero, my dear friend, Norman Frajman. I have had the good fortune to go to Poland with Norman twice and each time he taught me things that I will never forget. Please read Norman’s story.
'After the liquidation of the Ghetto, together with my mother, sister and other members of my family I was deported to the extermination camp of Majdanek. We had no idea where we were being taken, we thought that we are being resettled to a better place with better conditions.'
Norman Frajman was born in 1929 in Warsaw. ‘My mother and her brothers and sisters attended the ORT school after going to regular schools. My grandmother insisted that all of her children learn a trade. She was very smart, we came from a well to do family and she foresaw the necessity that the offsprings should be prepared for life’- he recalled.
Norman Frajman was from an observant family and attended private, mostly Jewish school. However, his schooling ended when he was not even ten years old as in September 1939 the German troops entered Warsaw. In November 1940 the whole family was locked in the Warsaw ghetto- the largest ghetto in Europe, where over 400,000 Polish Jews were crowded in inhumane conditions. Tens of thousands of them died while still in the ghetto, of hunger and various diseases. After enduring the horrors of life in the ghetto, Norman Frajman’s family, like many others was deported to a death camp in Majdanek. 'After the liquidation of the Ghetto, together with my mother, sister and other members of my family I was deported to the extermination camp of Majdanek. We had no idea where we were being taken, we thought that we are being resettled to a better place with better conditions.'- he recalled. His mother and sisters were murdered and he, at the age of twelve, was sent alone to further camps in Skarzysko, Buchenwald and Schlieben. When he was liberated by the Russian Army during the death march in Germany on 8 May 1945, he was still only fifteen years old. After liberation Norman Frajman worked for a year as an interpreter from Russian to German. He then went to Berlin to the Schlachtensee DP camp followed by Bamberg in Bavaria, Neu Freimann and finally the Children's Emigration Centres in Landshut and Prien. In Prien he joined ORT course in photography. Soon after, he found an uncle who lived in the United States and in 1948 managed to emigrate. Though he never practiced the trade in a professional way, he remained a keen amateur photographer.’ I still have my graduating certificate which is a little worn to say the least. It certainly has been looked upon favourably by the US consulate making my emigration easier’- recalled Norman Frajman.