Auschwitz Concentration Camp survivor Fritzie Fritzshall dies at age 91

She was also the president of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie

Thursday, June 24, 2021
Holocaust survivor Fritzie Fritzshall dies at age 91
A Chicago area woman who dedicated her life to fighting against hatred has died at the age of 91.A Chicago area woman who dedicated her life to fighting against hatred has died.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago area woman who dedicated her life to fighting against hatred has died at the age of 91.

Fritzie Fritzshall was a survivor of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp during World War II.

You may remember that she shared her personal story with ABC7's Alan Krashesky when she returned to Auschwitz with Chicago's Cardinal Blase Cupich in 2019. She made that trip, hoping that her voice would never be silenced and it has not.

"I want the world to remember and to know to never, ever, ever forget the Holocaust," Frizshall said in 2019.

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.

The holocaust survivor told all who would listen about the horrors of Auschwitz. She was sent there at the young age of 13.

When she shared her personal story with us two years ago at the infamous concentration camp, it was out of her deep desire to stop hatred.

"This was the last place I saw my mother (alive)," she said.

She feared what happened then -- Nazis killing Jews -- could happen again today.

RELATED: Holocaust survivor Fritzie Fritzshall remembers aunt who saved her from Auschwitz gas chamber

There are many women who Fritzie Fritzshall credits with helping her survive the Auschwitz concentration camp but it was her Aunt Bella who saved her from the gas chamber.

"History has a way of repeating itself," she said.

She saw neighbors turn against neighbors, families separated, and mothers, fathers, children on their way to the gas chambers.

Her haunting question still lingers: "Why didn't someone - anyone - do something?"

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.

"What are the reasons? What is humanity, if we can't do something? I mean, the screaming they heard is not from one or two or three people," she recalled.

"I have no answer. I have no explanation," Cardinal Cupich replied.

ABC7 last spoke to Fritzshall in April outside the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie. After a year of pandemic worries and lives lost, racial reckoning following the murder of George Floyd, attacks fermented by racial and religious hatred, and a riot by insurgents on the U.S. Capitol, she was greatly concerned for us.

When asked if we getting any closer to where we should be as a society, she said, "No. I think we're further away."

She believed the answer to changing that begins in each of our homes, prompting her urgent plea from one generation to the next.

RELATED: Holocaust survivor Fritzie Fritzshall, Cardinal Blase Cupich discuss rising anti-Semitism on panel

Holocaust survivor Fritzie Fritzhall joined Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich and ABC7's Alan Krashesky for a panel discussion about riding anti-Semitism Monday night.

"We've all been guilty of saying things about other people in our home. And we think our children don't hear us. They hear us," she said.

Fritzie Fritzshall was president of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie. Her powerful story against hatred and anti-semitism can still be seen and heard at the Museum.

Governor JB Prizker tweeted his condolences Saturday, saying, "Fritzie Fritzshall, my friend, is gone...She embodied the decency and kindness she implored from others. She was strong, faithful & caring. A fundamentally good person is gone today. I miss her already & will never forget her."

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also tweeted on the loss of Fritzshall.

"We've lost a great one, Fritzie Fritzshall, a survivor of Auschwitz and the Holocaust, who not only showed her character by surviving, but in dedicating her life's work to education about one of humankind's greatest atrocities through @ihmec. Thank you Fritzie. #NeverForget," he said.