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New Location

AHEC staff is currently working from our new location on Highland Avenue, with teacher and community programs being hosted on-site. We are currently taking limited group tours and will be open by appointment to the general public soon. For more information, contact us at info@ahecinfo.org or 205.795.4176.

1970 - 2015

Jenny Fried Cohen

Biography

Jenny Cohen was born in Česká Lípa, Czechoslovakia on August 16, 1912. At the age of four, her father died. Her mother took a job as a housekeeper in a neighboring town in order to support her daughter, while Jenny went to live with her grandmother in Lovosice.

In 1938, Hitler took over the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia, including Lovosice. All of the Jews, including Jenny, lost their jobs. Jewish businesses were confiscated. Their Christian friends would not associate with them. Afraid to leave the house during the day, they went outside at night to breathe the fresh air.

Jenny, who had blond hair and blue eyes, moved to Hamburg, Germany hoping to “disappear” in the city and find work. She had several grueling jobs and in 1940 married Ludwig Cohen. Their son, Victor, was born later that year, and the young family began the arduous task of applying for visas to the US.

Even with family sponsors in the US, the Cohen’s lacked the funds to obtain visas. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) stepped in and procured the necessary visas and paid their fares. The Cohens escaped Germany, leaving behind their family and everything they owned. They traveled by train to Barcelona, Spain, only to discover that their visas had expired one day before their ship’s scheduled departure. Heartbroken, they were not permitted to leave. In Barcelona, the JDC found them a place to stay, but as illegal immigrants, they were not eligible for ration cards. They subsisted on one meal a day.

After countless efforts to renew their American visas, the Cohens were finally allowed to leave Spain on August 6, 1941. They boarded the Spanish freighter Navemar – a ship built to carry twenty-eight people that was converted to take on 1,000. The voyage was terrible and the food wretched. Many passengers died on the ship. Jenny struggled to keep baby Victor alive.

“We could only stand this voyage because it meant our salvation.”

Jenny and Ludwig settled in Kingston, New York, and Jenny gave birth to daughter Marion six months later.  Their son, Victor, married a Birmingham girl and when Ludwig retired in 1978, they, too, moved to Birmingham. Jenny and Ludwig Cohen lost twenty-six family members in the Holocaust.

 

Addendum:  Jenny Cohen passed away on January 5, 2015.

Darkness Into Life

Claritas est etiam processus dynamicus, qui sequitur mutationem consuetudium lectorum. Mirum est notare quam littera gothica, quam nunc putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima. Eodem modo typi, qui nunc nobis videntur parum clari, fiant sollemnes in futurum.

Online Exhibit

More Information

Name in US
Jenny Fried Cohen
Name at Birth
Jenny Fried, Nickname "Herta"
Married Name
Jenny Fried Cohen
Parents' Name

Ida Fuhrmann and Jonas Fried (died 1916, Vienna)
Married August 6, 1911

Date of Birth - Note
August 16, 1912
Country of Birth
Czechoslovakia
City of Birth
Česká Lípa
City of Birth, Alternate Names

Shoah tape says she was born in Česká Skalice (Bohemia, Czechoslovakia)

Sibling(s) Name(s)

None

Spouse(s) Name(s)

Ludwig Victor Cohen (Louis)
(1907-1987)
Married January 1, 1940 in Hamburg, Germany

Children's Names

Victor Denny Cohen (Mickie)
(Born 1940, Hamburg, Germany)

Marion Cohen (Auerbach)
(Born 1942 in Kingston, NY)

Religious Identity (Prewar)
Orthodox Judaism
Religious Identity (Postwar)
Conservative Judaism
Other Experiences

USC Shoah Foundation Interview #15994

Year / City / Ship to US
September 12, 1941 / New York, NY / SS Navemar
Date Moved to Alabama
1978
Alabama City of Residence
Birmingham
Date of Death
January 5, 2015
City of Death
Birmingham, AL
City of Burial / Cemetery
Birmingham / Elmwood Cemetery
Dates Lived in Alabama
1978-2015

Resources