[Video below.] Sunday night, at Khal Beis Yosef Meir (Olympia), in Monsey, NY, noted Holocaust survivor, lecturer, and long-time editor of Dos Yiddishe Vort, Reb Yosef Friedenson, delivered an awe-inspiring speech entitled, “My Life Experiences; Before, During, and After the Holocaust.”
Especially in light of the fact that the Friedensons arrived in Auschwitz on Tisha B’Av, 1944, Matzav.com obtained a video copy, courtesy of his family, and is truly honored to share this time-appropriate message to its readership. We express our incere appreciation to Rabbi Friedenson’s son-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Chaim Golding, an ish choshuv in his own right.
Reb Yosef Friedenson was born in Lodz, Poland in April of 1922. His father, Rabbi Eliezer Gershon, was a noted activist for Agudath Israel of Poland and was the editor of the Beth Jacob Journal, curricula used throughout the Bais Yaakov movement in pre-war Europe.
When World War II broke out, the Friedenson family fled to Warsaw, eventually becoming prisoners of the Warsaw Ghetto where young Yosef married Gittel Leah Zilberman, of Shidlovicz, Poland. They were smuggled out of the ghetto and subsequently ended up spending several years in the slave labor camp of Starchowicz, before it was liquidated.
On Tisha Ba’av of 1944, they arrived in Auschwitz, where only the intervention of Hashgacha ensured their survival. While Mrs. Friedenson remained in Auschwitz until she was liberated by the Russian Army in early 1945, Reb Yosef endured death marches, confinement in Ohrduf and several other concentration camps, and was finally liberated from Buchenwald in April by the American Army. They were reunited several months later, spent several years in post-war Germany working to help other survivors rebuild their shattered lives, and immigrated to the United States in 1951 where he joined the Mike Tress-led Agudath Israel, establishing himself as one of the world’s leading Yiddish writers and holocaust historians as editor of Dos Yiddishe Vort, a title he holds till today.
Despite his age, Reb Yosef Friedenson still finds the strength to travel throughout North America, regaling his audiences with war-time stories of faith and Kiddush Hashem. In addition, he has also authored several ArtScroll books on the Holocaust.
Click below to watch the inspiring video of Reb Yosef Friedenson, with an introduction by Rav Chaim Zev Levitin:
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