Barbara Frankiss was born in Warsaw, Poland, in July 1938 as Maria Feinstein. In September 1939, most of Poland was invaded by the Nazis. Barbara moved with her mother to eastern Poland, which was still under Russian rule. In early 1942, after the German army invaded eastern Poland, Barbara's mother decided to return with Barbara to Warsaw and join her father's family in the ghetto. Soon after, Barbara's father was transported to the first of eight concentration camps. Barbara and her mother were then smuggled out of the ghetto, her mother hiding in the basement of a building while Barbara was hidden in an upstairs apartment of the same building with a Polish family. Should the SS have discovered a Jewish child being hidden, both the child and the host family would have been killed. As a result, Barbara had to stand silently behind a wardrobe for days on end in order not to be discovered.
In early December 1943, the SS discovered the group of Jews living in the basement, including Barbara's mother. They were publicly executed in the courtyard of the building, with all the residents forced to watch, including Barbara. At that point, the family looking after Barbara decided that it was too dangerous to have her in their flat. Barbara was taken by tram to a field on the outskirts of Warsaw by the man looking after her, where he removed her coat and left her there alone in freezing cold conditions.
This is only the start of Barbara's incredible story.
Please join us for this rare opportunity to hear from a Holocaust survivor. Barbara is the mother of Mishcon de Reya Partner Andrew Goldstone and will be interviewed by Managing Associate Lydia Kellet.