Holocaust survivor Kurt Frankfurter died on Christmas Eve at 90, 17 years to the day after his wife, Giselle, died in New York.
Starting in Auschwitz, Frankfurter’s survival is a heroic story that has been retold in interviews with Steven Spielberg and others. His first wife, parents, and brothers and sisters perished in the concentration camps. He was the lone survivor of his family.
Frankfurter’s survivors include son Henry (Gail) of New York and their two children; daughter Paula of New York; daughter Madeleine (Tom) Sherak of the San Fernando Valley and their three children; and nine great-grandchildren.
Frankfurter was the head volunteer to Rabbi Avi Weiss at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and close to his rabbi and dear friend, Steven Jacobs. Services were held in New York at his synagogue and at Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills.
Children, grandchildren and a great-grandchild all spoke of their love for Frankfurter. Rabbi Jacobs shared the story of how Frankfurter was a volunteer throughout his life, both in his community and in the concentration camps.
In the camps, Frankfurter had double pneumonia and was gravely ill; his recovery was due in large part to a Nazi guard who valued Frankfurter’s volunteerism. Two men — a Nazi and a Jew — for a moment experienced goodness and the humanity that flowed from Frankfurter’s love of life. It was his passion and hard work for goodness over evil that defined him every day of his life.
Daughter Madeleine Sherak, in eulogizing her father, said, “Daddy, you lived your life on your own terms, you stayed true to the values that embodied who you were, and you never compromised when it came to putting other’s needs above your own. Your life has been a blessing to all of us, Daddy, and may you now be blessed with peace, and the love and comfort of the family you will be joining.”
For an interview with Kurt Frankfurter, visit http://www.ubu.com/film/ganahl_frankfurter.html.