Holocaust survivor speaks to students

Roman Frayman with students from Heights High's Lessons of the Holocaust class (from left): Kyra Sears, Mark Sack, Shaniya Shepherd, Adam Rosenbaum, Roman Frayman, Soli Collins, Mariah Benson, William Rosenberg and Ruby Jackson.

Holocaust survivor Roman Frayman visited Mark Sack’s Lessons of the Holocaust class at Heights High, and spoke of his experiences as a child survivor of the Holocaust in Poland.

Frayman was born in Poland in 1938. When he was a toddler, the Nazis moved his family to a Jewish ghetto and then to a work camp. When he was 3, his mother smuggled him out of the labor camp and arranged for him to live with the Catholic Balagova family.

While with the Balagova family, 1941–45, Frayman attended Catholic church and pretended to be part of their family. Many Jewish children were hidden and cared for by non-Jewish families.

After the Soviet army liberated his town, the Frayman family moved to Germany and eventually immigrated to the U.S. in 1949, when he was 11.

“Mr. Frayman’s life story is similar to the story in the movie that we watched recently in class, ‘The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler,’” said Sack. “The movie and the discussions with Mr. Frayman helped students think about the decisions that we make in our life.”

Frayman asked if the students would keep a stranger’s child if it meant great danger to their own family. “It is a hard question and I am not sure I know what I would do,” he said. “But I do know that I was very lucky and I am very grateful.” His infant brother did not survive, and many of his extended family members were killed in the Holocaust.

“Having the Holocaust survivors tell their stories is one of the best ways for students to learn about history and reflect on their own lives and communities,” said Sack.

Frayman lives in Beachwood and is a Holocaust educator in his temple and in the community.

Joy Henderson

Joy Henderson is the parent/community liaison for Heights High.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 11:26 AM, 12.15.2015