Harry Friedman (1918-2015)
Harry Friedman, the youngest of four children, was born in Warsaw, Poland on August 7, 1918. He attended Jewish school and then gymnasium in Warsaw, eventually working in his parents’ wholesale hat business when he graduated. He describes his family as averagely Jewish, observing all holidays and keeping kosher at home.
When the war started in 1940, he and his family were in Warsaw. One week later, all men were required to report to the Polish army by walking east to the border. Before he arrived, the Russians invaded Poland from the east and he was under Russian occupation. He found a way to Lithuania, and eventually to Japan in an effort to make it to the United States. Before being able to leave Japan, all foreign refugees in Japan were deported to Shanghai, China in 1941.
There he met his wife and they lived in Shanghai until 1949. In 1949 he and his wife went to Israel to be with his brother and sister. Living conditions were bad and they made arrangements to come to the United States, which they did in late 1954. After two weeks in New York, they came to Portland to be with his wife’s aunt.
Harry died on January 3, 2015 at the age of 96.