Fanny was the oldest of three girls born to a Jewish family in the Baltic seaport of Liepaja, a city with a large Jewish community in Latvia. Fanny attended a Jewish primary school there. Her parents owned and operated a shoe store and small shoe factory.
1933-39: As a young girl, my life revolved around activities with Betar, a Zionist youth movement founded in Riga in 1923. We had a group of about 25 boys and girls. We studied about Palestine and our Jewish heritage. In 1935 my mother gave birth to my youngest sister, named Liebele. When I finished secondary school, at age 16, I left home for Riga to enter the university, where I studied nursing.
1940-44: In 1940 the Soviet Union occupied Latvia and I returned home. A year later, the Germans reached Latvia and occupied Liepaja within a week. The Germans immediately began rounding up and shooting Jewish men. My father was one of them. On December 15, 1941, my family was informed that we were being deported. We were rounded up and put in prison. Suddenly I heard my name. A guard said I was being released. Defiantly, I replied, "I'm not leaving without my mother and sisters." After a moment he said, "Take them and get out."
Fanny was eventually deported, and over the next few years was imprisoned in five concentration camps. She was liberated in Kiel on May 4, 1945.