On January 27, 2000, Todd Singer of Tulsa, Oklahoma, purchased a Nazi-generated wartime medical personnel questionnaire...
...as a birthday gift for his wife. One of many official forms called a Fragebogen, the document was used by German authorities during World War II to gather personal data for the purpose of issuing work permits in occupied Poland. Pictured on this document is a slight, frail-looking Jewish woman. Singer did not know the yellowed, four-page questionnaire would set into motion a research effort involving himself, his friends, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to reconstruct the life and death of the woman described and depicted on the artifact.
Singer discovered that the woman, Lucja Frey Gottesman, was not simply a doctor, but a renowned scientist and the researcher of a medical condition that bears her name. The investigation into Frey’s life and fate began after the Singers shared the news of their purchase with a Tulsa-based, Jewish-Christian interfaith group. Their initial discussions spurred an 18-month research effort involving people from around the globe, linking the Tulsa group to a medical research team based at the University of Florida, to scholars at Yad Vashem (the official Israeli Holocaust memorial and research center), and to others who translated related documents and articles that helped the group put together the pieces of the Frey puzzle—to determine her fate. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum became an active partner in this research effort as the investigation broadened and in March 2002 the Singers donated the document to the Museum.
According to the document, Frey’s last place of residence was the disease-infested ghetto of Lvov (today L’viv), in German-occupied Poland, the starting point for the historical investigation.
Woman and doctor.