Friedman, Reny

Reny Friedman is a child survivor from the Netherlands.  She and her twin brother were born in 1937, just as prewar tensions were building up.  Reny’s mother was from germany, and sensing what was to come, she looked for ways to protect her family.  The family managed to secure the help of the underground, going into hiding in the countryside, in the Ardennes region, as well as in Brussels.  In both cases they were discovered and forced to run, but not all family members escaped.  Reny’s mother was deported to Auschwitz, where she was able to survive the brutality of slave labour at the hands of the Nazis.  She returned at the end of the war, and Reny poignantly described her mother’s emotional state in the months and years after the war.  Reny’s father knew he had to get his children to safety when his wife was taken away, so her turned to the underground, who took Reny’s brother to a monastery and Reny to a convent.  Reny passed the remainder of the war there, where she learned how to live in this new, alien environment.  As time passed, she began to enjoy the rituals and trappings of the Catholic faith.  When her father came to get her at the end of the war, Reny remembers that he allowed her time and was patient with her return to her Jewish roots.  Reny made her way to Canada in the 1950s, where she married Henry Friedman, also a Holocaust Survivor, whose story appears in this project as well.  Reny was interviewed in her home in July 2016 by Scott Masters and Savannah Yutman.