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Obituary for Morris Friebaum

Morris Friebaum

Just shy of his 91st birthday, Morris passed away on February 25th, in Scottsdale, AZ, with his family by his side. Morris never met a stranger or missed an opportunity to laugh or make a joke. He was the kind of friend anyone would be lucky to have, and a loving and beloved father. Morris was nothing if not a mensch. Born Moniek (Moishe, in Yiddish) Frajbaum in Warsaw, Poland on March 7, 1927, Morris was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust. At 14, Morris escaped the Warsaw ghetto in search of food. Unable to safely re-enter the ghetto, he never saw his family again. His father Henoch, mother Raizel, brothers Yitzhak and Bencie, and sister Hannah were murdered by the Nazis. Before the end of WW II, Morris experienced the horrors of “life” in a ghetto, months of homelessness while eluding capture, a near fatal typhus infection, imprisonment in five concentration camps in Poland and Germany, beatings, starvation, and death marches for hundreds of kilometers before being liberated at the age of 18 by the American Army on May 2, 1945. Morris arrived in NY Harbor in September, 1946 penniless, with no family, possessions, education or English language skills. He cobbled together work in factories until he was drafted into the American Army during the Korean Conflict. Deployed to Germany instead of Korea due to his European language skills, he later learned his battalion sent to Korea was wiped out. Upon returning to the US, Morris worked seasonally in hotels in Miami Beach and the Catskill Mountains of NY. He met and married Ruth (nee Ratner) in 1958. They raised two daughters in Brooklyn and later in Queens, NY. Morris managed a delicatessen, owned a donut-coffee shop, and owned a taxi cab. Morris and Ruth divorced after 23 years of marriage. In retirement, Morris was a Miami Beach “snowbird,” then settled permanently in Delray Beach, FL where he enjoyed 20 years of table tennis (he had a wicked backhand), billiards, cards, and many great friends. In 2010, he astounded doctors by surviving a massive heart attack. Morris moved to Scottsdale, AZ four months ago to be closer to family. Survived by daughters Robyn Schuster (Cliff) and Janice (Michael Lefkowitz), grandchildren Jeremy and Allyson Schuster, and surrogate grandchildren Olivia and Dylan Nikol. Services on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 10 AM, at Sinai Mortuary, Phoenix. Donations in Morris’ memory may be made to HIAS, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society,
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