Illinois Holocaust Museum President, Auschwitz survivor Fritzie Fritzshall laid to rest

Thursday, June 24, 2021
Holocaust survivor Fritzie Fritzshall laid to rest
Friends gathered in Wilmette Wednesday to remember a leader who stood against prejudice and anti-Semitism.

WILMETTE, Ill. (WLS) -- A Chicago woman who dedicated her life to fighting hatred was laid to rest Wednesday.

Fritzie Fritzshall survived the Holocaust and the horrors of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz during World War II. She died last week at age 91.

Friends gathered to remember a leader who stood against prejudice and anti-Semitism.

Many will remember when Fritzshall shared her painful return visit to Auschwitz with her friend Cardinal Blase Cupich two years ago.

WATCH: Holocaust survivor Fritzie Fritzshall returns to Auschwitz with Cardinal Blase Cupich

Holocaust Survivor Fritzie Fritzshall and Cardinal Blase Cupich at Auschwitz - remembering the millions who died in the Holocaust. Video by Jim Mastri.

"I want the world to remember and to know, to never, ever, ever forget the Holocaust," she said on that trip.

Life came to a horrible end for more than 1 million prisoners at Auschwitz, including her grandfather, brothers and her mother.

As mourners gathered in Wilmette, there was gratitude for the woman who was so determined to change the world with her story.

"Her impact is worldwide," said Marcy Larson, Illinois Holocaust Museum. "She was so accessible and so warm and so compelling. Everyone felt Fritzie's warmth and pain and passion for making the world a better place."

RELATED: Holocaust Survivor Fritzie Fritzshall: 'I wouldn't be here today' without women who saved her life at Auschwitz

A door of death opened the moment boxcars, crammed with Jews from across Europe arrived at night on the long train tracks that cut through the center of the concentration camp.

"The message that she conveyed and her legacy will be that of 'love your neighbor as yourself,'" said Ken Cooper, vice president, Illinois Holocaust Museum.

Her friendship with a Catholic Cardinal Archbishop spread that message further.

"There really are very few differences between Catholics and Jews and Christians and Jews, you know, we all embrace family and education and peace and kindness towards others, and so, it's important that if you think there are walls, they are miniscule walls," said Jeff Pfeffer, Illinois Holocaust Museum board member.

As a teenager, Fritzshall promised the women who saved her from death at Auschwitz that she would tell their story. And she kept that promise again, said best by her own grandson.