Born: Selo-Solotvina, Czechoslovakia
September 14, 1926
Frida was the eldest of three daughters born to Jewish parents in a village in the easternmost province of Czechoslovakia. When Frida was 2, her parents moved to Liege, Belgium, a largely Catholic industrial city with many immigrants from eastern Europe. Frida attended Belgian public schools and grew up speaking French.
1933-39: In Liege we lived in an apartment above a cafe and across the street from a Catholic church. I had many Catholic girlfriends at school. At home I spoke Yiddish to my parents, but when they didn't want me to understand their conversation, they spoke Hungarian to each other. My religious mother made sure that I also studied Hebrew.
1940-44: I was 13 when the Germans occupied Liege. Two years later, because we were Jewish, our family was ordered to register and my sisters and I were forced out of school. Some Catholic friends helped our family obtain false papers and rented us a house in a nearby village. Then, as Fernande Albert, I was sent back to Liege to work as a maid. Every other weekend I bicycled back to the village to visit my family. On the first weekend of March 1944 I got a message, "Don't come." The Gestapo had arrested my family.
Frida was in Brussels, Belgium, when it was liberated by British and Canadian troops in early September 1944. She emigrated to the United States in May 1946.