Alzbeta Friedmann

No Excuses

In spite of loss, during the Holocaust and afterward, Alzbeta’s conquering spirit makes no excuses.

Alzbeta was one of five children born into a very affluent and aristocratic family. Her father, Herman Grosshandler, was a major landowner and employer in the region of Zemplinsky Branc, Slovakia. Alzbeta survived with false documentation, working on farms, hiding in silos, and living with the partisans in the mountains. Herman, however, proudly refused to live under a false name, stating that he “was born a Jew and will die as one.” Herman was captured by the Nazis, who asked him, “Are you a Jew?” Replying “Yes,” he was shot on the spot. Alzbeta’s two youngest brothers, Leo and Richard, also perished in the Holocaust.

After the war, Alzbeta married Samuel, a Holocaust and concentration camp survivor, and, together, they rebuilt their lives. Their sons, Peter and George, were born in 1949 and 1955 respectively. Alzbeta went back to school and earned a diploma in economics. When the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, Alzbeta and Samuel decided to immigrate to Canada.

In Canada, Alzbeta spent the first 10 years working long hours in retail jobs. Unfortunately, Samuel soon became ill, leaving Alzbeta as the sole supporter and caretaker for her ailing husband for five long years. After Samuel passed away in 1976, Alzbeta created a small business, taking care of her sons while employing others and contributing to the economic growth of Canada.

Notwithstanding the numerous setbacks that Alzbeta has had to face, she has remained a strong-willed and committed Jew, who learns, teaches, empowers, and keeps on “chugging” forward, dedicating herself to others and to the cause of Holocaust remembrance and education.