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Archive for Friday, January 27, 2012

Lou Frydman, Holocaust survivor and mental health advocate, dies

Lou Frydman, a survivor of the Holocaust who worked as a Kansas University social welfare professor and an advocate for change in the mental health system, died Tuesday. He was 81.

Lou Frydman, a survivor of the Holocaust who worked as a Kansas University social welfare professor and an advocate for change in the mental health system, died Tuesday. He was 81.

January 27, 2012

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Lou Frydman, a survivor of the Holocaust who worked as a Kansas University social welfare professor and an advocate for change in the mental health system, died Tuesday. He was 81.

Lou Frydman, about two thirds of the way to the right, in the middle row and wearing a white coat, stands out in a group photograph made after World War II's end in Heidelberg, Germany. The picture was taken at a children's school Frydman attended for nine months in Germany following the war.

Lou Frydman, about two thirds of the way to the right, in the middle row and wearing a white coat, stands out in a group photograph made after World War II's end in Heidelberg, Germany. The picture was taken at a children's school Frydman attended for nine months in Germany following the war.

Lou Frydman pictured at right, is shown after his liberation at age
15 in this photograph taken in 1946 in Heidelberg, Germany, along
with his older brother Abraham, left, and friend Moniek Wolman,
center.

Lou Frydman pictured at right, is shown after his liberation at age 15 in this photograph taken in 1946 in Heidelberg, Germany, along with his older brother Abraham, left, and friend Moniek Wolman, center.

Frydman and his brother Abram, older than Lou by one-and-a-half years, were the only survivors of the Holocaust among his relatives from his native Poland, who numbered about 40, said his wife, Jane Frydman.

Americans liberated him at a sub-camp of the Dachau concentration camp. He was just under 15 years old.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kansas’ poet laureate, has written a book, soon to be published, on Frydman’s experiences in the Holocaust called “Needle in the Bone.” The title is taken, she said, from a time when he had to spring out of bed and stand still, but stepped on a needle. He had to remain still or risk the ire of the guards.

He couldn’t go to the hospital, either, because people were routinely killed there. Later in his life, an X-ray showed that the needle had fused into one of the bones of his foot.

“He really helped me understand a trauma of that magnitude and how you carry it,” Mirriam-Goldberg said. “You can use what you’ve learned to make a life of caring and joy.”

Sitting in her home on Friday, Jane Frydman said her husband was also an advocate for change in the mental health system. He helped change laws and programs that used seclusion of patients as a treatment. Under the treatment, patients were separated from their families except for a half-hour per week.

Some patients continued to keep in touch later in life, too. A person who as a teenager was put into seclusion dropped off a plant to the house after hearing that Lou was sick.

Lou continued to research the Holocaust throughout his life and spoke about his experiences to anyone who would ask.

“He never turned it down,” Jane Frydman said.

Two of his three sons, Rick and John, are Lawrence attorneys. A third son, Dan, lives in St. Joseph. He was most proud of his children and grandchildren, who meant the world to him, Mirriam-Goldberg said.

A celebration of his life is planned for later this spring. The family encouraged people wishing to make a contribution in Lou Frydman’s memory to make a donation to the charity of their choosing.

Comments

trinity 2 years, 7 months ago

Rest in peace sir. Lou Frydman is high on my list of favorite teachers. My life is richer for having known you.

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 7 months ago

May he rest in peace. I'll never forget when many years ago Lou showed me the tattooed numbers on his arm.

We must never forget.

Shalom.

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Bob Forer 2 years, 7 months ago

My goodness, many of the great progressive Social Welfare professors from the seventies are gone. Ben Zimmerman, Ed Dutton, Norm Forer, and now Lou. Back then, teaching social welfare meant teaching social justice.

Lou was a wonderful man, educator, and activist, and will be sorely missed

My condolences to Jane, Rick, John and Dan.

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WilburM 2 years, 7 months ago

Knowing a fair number of current social welfare professors, I still think they address (and advocate for) issues of social justice. They may do it in somewhat more social-science ways, but their dedication (to me) is clear.

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Kontum1972 2 years, 7 months ago

I have known the Frydman's for a longtime i have watched their children grow and my relationship with Rick and Amy and all their children Lou and Mrs Frydman will be greatly missed but his legacy will remain. Rick if u read this Zach and I are sorry for your loss. Eddo

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Chris Ogle 2 years, 7 months ago

Sorry to hear this. Rick and John, sorry for your loss.

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dontcallmedan 2 years, 7 months ago

A fine man, reflected in his fine family.

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clarkk 2 years, 7 months ago

I've met Mr. Frydman a few times, he was always a delight to talk with. Mrs. Frydman, John, Rick and Dan. Your father was a very special person. I am sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace, may God give you strength and peace.

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