The Liebman –
Click on a
name in either family tree below for more information on many
individuals listed. For a full page, printable family tree,
here for the top tree and
here for the bottom one.
New Jersey and
Those Who Stayed Behind: Survivors - I
of the Liebman family's known victims and survivors of the Holocaust were descendants of
Aron Friedmann (1840-1910)
Lena Liebman (1840-1925) [from the New Jersey/Cleveland
Liebman family tree] and of and
Linka Liebman (1883-1944) [from the Southern
Loveman tree]. There
were surely many others, but these are the ones who have been
this page and the next two are the stories of several of them.
ezi Friedman (1895-1972), who
took the name Renee, was the
fourth of seven children of Adolph Friedmann (1863-1926) and
Regina Klein (1867-1944). All but the last of them were daughters,
and Renee was the beautiful one.
Born in Zamutov, she grew up in nearby Rozhanovce, but was
keen to see more of the world. After her marriage in 1922
to Budapest lawyer
Marcel Baroth (1890-1944) she had the life
she wanted: a beautiful apartment, two smart and lovely
children, Agnes and Thomas, and many friends. Fashion-conscious,
she dressed beautifully and was the pride (and perhaps the envy)
of her sisters. She attended plays and concerts and was a
regular at many of Budapest’s top restaurants.
In 1938, Hungary began to pass laws that restricted the
professions in which Jewish people could be employed. As the sphere of
activity available to Jews tightened, she began to worry about her
family in Slovakia, where the persecution was worse. And finally, Hitler
marched into Hungary in March 1944, sending Adolf Eichmann to supervise
the deportation of its Jews.
By July 1944, the Hungarians and Germans had deported nearly
440,000 Jews from Hungary. Marcel Baroth did not escape; he was
on the last train in that month and died in Auschwitz. Renee and
her children were more fortunate. They were able to acquire
certificates of protection from Raoul Wallenberg, a Swede who
had been recruited by the U.S. War Refugee Board (WRB) and given
status as a Swedish diplomat. Wallenberg arrived in Budapest on
July 9 and immediately set up more than 30 “safe houses” with WRB
and Swedish funds. Thus protected, the three nervously awaited the end
of the war in a safe house. Three weeks before the fall of Pest, they
were moved to the Budapest ghetto.
The wedding of Agnes Baroth and
Arnold Sametz on November 23, 1956. From left are Renee Friedman
Baroth, Agnes Baroth,
Arnold Sametz and Thomas Baroth.
Renee came to the New York in 1946, having received a derivative citizenship through her
father, who had lived in the U.S. for five years in the 1880s
before returning to Hungary to marry and start his family. She
found work with a decorator who was a distant relative. Although life was hard in America, she
did not complain. Her children arrived as non-quota immigrants in 1947.
Her daughter Agnes (1926-)
found work and her son Thomas (1929-) attended Pratt Institute in
Brooklyn and received a B.F.A. He was accepted in the Navy and served
for more than three years as a Lieutenant, Junior Grade, which made his
mother enormously proud and happy. Renee's great joys included the
marriage of Agnes to Arnold Sametz (1919-2009), whom she adored, and living
a few blocks from her grandchildren, whom she worshipped as they did
her, for the last eight years of her life. She suffered a cerebral
hemorrhage in 1972, fell into a coma and died after 75 days. Her ashes
rest in Ferncliff Cemetery, Westchester, New York.
Kluger was born in the Slovak town of Sečovce in 1923 to Hermin
Friedman (1897-1944) and Miklos Kluger (1886-1944). Her father
was a notary public who worked in Veľké Trakany, a village in
eastern Slovakia. Because he was employed by the Hungarian
government, he was forcibly retired from his post in 1925, after
Czechoslovakia was born and Hungarians ceased to govern the
region. Although he was provided with a small pension, he was
not even 40 years old at the time, and needed to find work to
support his family.
In 1929, Ella’s
father relocated to Kosice, where he had relatives. He
established a business as a debt collector, and she and her
mother followed him there; Kosice is where Ella grew up. Shortly
before World War II, she began her university education,
studying economics for four semesters in Kosice and another two
in Budapest. But when the Nazis took over control of Budapest,
she returned to Kosice to join her parents.
The three were forced to board a transport for Auschwitz one
night in June, 1944. On arrival, she did not see her father – in
fact, she never saw him again. She stayed with her mother. At
the gate of the concentration camp, however, the infamous S.S.
physician Josef Mengele questioned her as to whether the woman
she was with was her mother; at age 47, Hermin’s hair had not
yet turned grey. When Ella confirmed the relationship, the two
were separated. Her mother was directed to the left and was
murdered shortly afterward, and Ella was told to go to the
right, having been judged fit for work. On the strength of her
good penmanship, she was given the job of scribe, and told to
record the names and numbers of those who came after her who
were either to be killed or to be allowed to live and work.
Ella Kluger Zemanova,
left, pictured in 2008 in her home in Bratislava with
her daughter, Katka Jurikova and her granddaughter,
After the war was
over and Auschwitz was liberated in January, 1945, Ella was
taken by train through Germany, passing through Reichenbach and
Hamburg and on to Sweden. Through arrangements made by Swedish
diplomats, she was given quarters in a school and work in a
raincoat factory in a small town in Sweden. Eventually, she
returned to Kosice to search for surviving family members,
but finding none, she settled in Bratislava in January, 1946.
There, at the Slovak Higher School of Commerce (now the
University of Economics in Bratislava) she continued her study
of economics and met the man who was to become her husband,
Frantisek Zeman (1920-1989), who was also a student at the time.
Ella’s great uncle Manny –
Friedman (1877-1975) – who had
emigrated to Cleveland, Ohio in 1895, offered to bring her to
America, but she and her husband decided to finish their studies
before making such a move. This proved to be a fateful decision,
because by the time of their graduation in 1948, travel to
America had become impossible.
After graduation, Ella went to work for the Czechoslovak
government, first with the Slovak Planning and Statistics Bureau
and later the Ministry of Construction. She and her husband both
joined the Communist Party, but because he was a supporter of
Alexander Dubček, a Slovak politician who lead Czechoslovakia
briefly during the “Prague Spring” period from 1968-1969, he was
expelled from the Party after Dubček was ousted by the Soviets.
Ella, too, had run afoul of the changing politics in
Czechoslovakia, having lost a job in the 1950s after being
falsely accused of aiding Rudolf Slánský, the former general
secretary of the Party who fell into disfavour and was executed.
She had not, in fact, known Slánský, however, and was eventually
Ella made Bratislava her home after the war. She gave birth to
her daughter Katarina (Katka) in 1952 and a son, Pavol (Palo) in
1955, and today she is grandmother to three grandchildren. She
died on May 12, 2013.
Click on any underlined words in the site for more information. For
acknowledgments and contact information, click
Scott D. Seligman, 2007-2019.
All rights reserved.