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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives



                                 RUTH EINSTEIN

DATE:                        DECEMBER 21, 2009


SPONSORED BY:      Taylor Family Fund

CITATION:                  Haskell Frostig, December 21, 2009, OHC10224, p. xx from the Herbert and Esther Taylor Oral History Collection, Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History at the Breman Museum, Atlanta, Georgia

Transcript (PDF)


Haskell (Chaskell) Frostig was born in Beuthen, Germany on November 22, 1930. He was the youngest child of Dora Lubin Frostig and Meyer Frostig, a salesman. Haskell’s family was religious and practiced Orthodox Judaism. His father was a cantor in the synagogue. Haskell had two older sisters, Rivka and Gittel. In 1936, the Frostig family left Germany and settled in Mosty Wielkie, a town in southeastern Poland, near present-day Lviv, Ukraine.

The Germans and Russian invaded and divided Poland in September 1939. While Mosty Wielkie was occupied by the Russians, Haskell’s family survived by operating a restaurant. In 1941, the Germans drove the Soviets out of Poland. The family was forced into a ghetto but a local farmer temporarily hid Haskell. Haskell’s two sisters were sent to a nearby labor camp, where they were eventually killed. Haskell and his parents escaped the liquidation of Mosty Wielkie and were transferred to a labor camp in Rava Ruska. When they learned that camp was to be liquidated, Haskell and his parents fled to the nearby woods. They spent the rest of the war hiding in the woods and in the barns of local farmers.

At the end of the war, the family found themselves in Soviet territory. Fearing violent retribution from locals, who had already taken all of the family’s property, they travelled through Czechoslovakia to the American occupied zone of Germany. They spent a brief period in Ulm, where a Displaced Persons camp had been established. In 1947, they immigrated to the United States. Haskell attended high school in Atlanta, Georgia, while helping his parents establish a grocery business. In 1955, Haskell married the American born daughter of Fitzgerald, Georgia’s mayor pro tem. The couple bought a house and raised 3 sons. Haskell is a long-time member of and leader in the Anshi S'fard congregation.

Scope of Interview:

Haskell describes his early years in southeastern Poland and life under Soviet occupation after 1939. When the Germans invaded in 1941 and the family was forced into a ghetto, Haskell relates his experience being hidden for a brief period by a local farmer. Once he was in the ghetto, Haskell recalls witnessing a series of violent actions. He describes going out on work crews from the ghetto and his sisters being sent to another camp. When the rumor spread that the smaller camp where Haskell and his parent were was to be liquidated next, he recounts escaping into the nearby woods, hiding in the barns of friendly farmers, and enduring hunger and lice. Haskell describes the family’s journey to Germany and then the United States after the war. Haskell recalls attending high school in Atlanta, marrying, joining an Orthodox congregation, and beginning his career. He describes the negative attitudes toward immigrants and minorities that he encountered. Haskell considers the tension between Israel and its Arab neighbors, Holocaust denial, and contemporary politics in America.

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