Before the War

Chortkow, Poland

Frieda Allweiss was born as Freida Schiller on May 21st in 1933, in a small town called Chortkow, Poland, which is now Ukraine. Freida was an only child and her mother Sarah and her father Marcus both had extended families who lived in the same area. Her father was a very busy man as he made furniture for the whole area. He had about twelve people working for him and all the furniture was hand made at the time. He was a very fine craftsman, which really helped him during the war. In 1939, just before WWII started, when she was six years old, the Russians invaded her town because Hitler and Stalin had made a pact and the eastern part of Poland went to Russia. At that time everything changed and there was no longer any normalcy. The Russians had a lot of strict rules, but in general Freida and her family were not as bad off as the people who lived under Hitler at the time. In 1940, when she was seven, Freida started school. The Russians allowed Polish, Ukrainian, and Yiddish Schools. That was the first time FRIEDA learned Yiddish, because until then, only Polish was spoken in her house. But for some reason her parents decided that FRIEDA should go to the Yiddish school. Mainly, there were secular Jews, but her parents were very Zionist oriented, and they felt that Frieda needed to know Yiddish.