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< Meet Holocaust Survivors

Frank Liebermann (Franz Liebermann)

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Frank Liebermann
Born: January 19, 1929, Gleiwitz, Germany (now Poland)

Frank Liebermann was about six years old when he began attending public school in Germany. Jewish students were segregated from the Christians, but there were times of the day when they could not escape their tormentors—Christian students who threatened them physically. Frank called recess “the most scary part of the day.” At the end of the day, teachers released the Jewish children early so that they had a head start leaving school before the other children were let out.

Biographical Information

The only child of Hans and Lotte Liebermann, Frank lived with his family in an industrial town near the borders of Poland and Czechoslovakia. Hans was a prominent surgeon in the city and the family lived a comfortable middle-class existence. The families of both of Frank’s parents had lived in the area for several generations.

By 1933 German public schools separated Jewish and non-Jewish students. When Frank started school in 1935 the Jewish students were allotted three small classrooms and dismissed five minutes early in order to rush home as antisemitic attacks by other students became frequent after school.

In 1936 anti-Jewish laws led to rapid changes in Gleiwitz. Denied hospital privileges and not allowed to accept insurance payments, Hans could no longer make a living. Playgrounds, swimming pools, and other venues were closed to Frank and other Jews. It was an extremely difficult time for Jewish families in Gleiwitz and the rest of Germany.

Hans traveled to the United States in 1938 to obtain immigration papers. With the help of a cousin, he obtained an affidavit that enabled the Liebermanns to be placed on a waiting list for visas. He then returned to Lotte and Frank in Gleiwitz to wait for the visas.

The visas were issued in June 1938. Immediately Hans traveled to the United States to begin preparing for the Ohio State Medical Board examination. Frank and Lotte stayed behind to settle household affairs and then purchased tickets for a ship bound for the United States that departed Germany on October 13, 1938, less than a month before Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass.”

The Liebermann family settled in Ohio because it was less difficult for Hans to obtain a medical license there than in other states. After passing the state examination, he set up a medical practice in Dayton.

Frank graduated from Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) in 1950 with a degree in chemistry. Today he works as a travel agent and volunteers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.