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Frances Spiegel

Age: 90

Birthdate: April 14, 1926

Birthplace: Chrzanow, Poland

Religious Identity: Jewish


“She was my savior, I didn’t think I would make it without her I was very young I was only 15 years old at the time, it’s because of her I’m pretty sure I’m still alive.”


Frances Spiegel was 13 years old when the war broke out in Poland. She and her family were soon forced into a ghetto after the Nazi invasion. Frances says they were not permitted to do anything after this. She remained in the ghetto until 1942 when she was placed on a cattle car and transported to a sub-camp of Gross Rosen, known as Ober Alstadt. One of her sisters was transported to that camp as well. Frances says she is the reason that she was able to make it through the camp, saying she was her savior. Frances and her sister remained in the camp for 3 years and 4 months; she recalls everyone knowing when Josef Mengele would come to the camp and select people to take to Auschwitz. . After Frances was taken to the camp, she never saw her parents again she also lost her youngest sister, grandparents, and many other family members.  Just a few weeks shy of liberation, her sister lost her leg in a train accident, but Frances say she never let this stop her from doing anything in her life. She and her sister were liberated by the Russians on May 9th, 1945, but after liberation Frances contracted Typhus and was in quarantine, but eventually recovered. Frances knew her husband for two years before they got married. She refused to go to Canada with him unless they took her sister with them because she wanted them to all be together.  The couple had a daughter while still in Germany and then a second child before immigrating to the United States. They were sponsored by the Federation of Pittsburgh and came over by plane. Frances raised her children and began her life here her sister lived with Frances and Harry for ten years. Frances now enjoys reading and going to the J.C.C. She has 4 grandchildren and many great grandchildren.


“I met him in Germany, we were like in the D.P. camps but it was like a kibbutz style, I worked in a hospital, so while I was working my husband was working in administration in the office. I did pretty good, he was a good man, Harry.”


Read her full testimony here.