Atlanta City Councilman Michael Bond will honor activist and Holocaust survivor Henry Friedman

Henry Friedman (front center) was honored at Atlanta City Hall March 16

Local Holocaust survivor Henry Friedman will be honored next week by Atlanta City Councilmember Michael Julian Bond. The ceremony will take place Monday, March 16 at Atlanta City Hall.

The presentation is scheduled during the normally scheduled Atlanta City Council meeting and will be preceded by a reception in honor of Friedman.

Henry Friedman’s Story 

Friedman was 21 years old in 1944 when Nazi troops invaded his Hungarian town. Shortly after, Henry was forcibly drafted into the Hungarian Army. Before he left, his grandmother took him to an old man who wore a tallis, or prayer shawl, and blessed Friedman. He says he is convinced this blessing protected him throughout the war.

During World War II, Friedman with two other men were taken by Nazis to a cemetery and lined them up in front of a firing squad. Friedman heard the rifles and blacked out.  When he regained consciousness, he was under the two other men. He was wounded but had survived the shot. Friedman found a hiding place in a hospital coal room until the Soviet Army arrived. Henry surrendered to them. Two weeks later, he was marching under Russian guard on handmade crutches.

While marching, a girl informed Friedman he was heading for Siberia. Friedman left and was able to find a place to stay. Two day later, he made it home and had his legs treated immediately. News_Henry Friedman 2Friedman soon learned that his brother, father, mother, sister, and grandmother had all did. He tried not to think about what had happened during the Holocaust and decided he needed to start a new life.

In 1947, Friedman moved to Milan and saw Via Col Vento (Gone with the Wind). He noticed many parallels between the movie and his own life. Friedman was sponsored by the Jewish Federation to come to Atlanta in 1950.

Friedman believes he survived the war for a reason. He believes it is important for him to tell his story, regardless of how painful it is for him, so that the Holocaust is not forgotten.

Henry Friedman will be honored at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 16 at Atlanta City Hall.