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Holocaust Survivor Fanny Krasnow Lebovits

Fanny Krasner Lebovits

Fanny (Feiga-Chasse Judelowitz) (born: Libau, Latvia, October 27, 1922) the oldest of three girls.  The family lived comfortably life; her father was a shoe designer, and he owned a shoe store and a factory. Fanny belonged to BETAR Zionist Youth Group, where a leader was Louis Krashinsky, who would be important in Fanny’s life after the war. Fanny was studying nursing in Riga, in June 1940, when the Russian’s invaded, as then she returned to Libau and finished her studies. Fanny then worked in the Libau General Hospital until the Germans invaded in June 1941. Quickly, the first deportation and murder of 1,150 Jewish men, including Fanny’s father, occurred. On December 15,1941, the women and remaining men were taken to the woman’s prison.  Miraculously, Fanny was selected to be released.  She told the German officer that she would not go without her Mother and sisters.  He told her to take them and go,. So Fanny, her Mother and sisters were released. Subsequently, she married Monya Kaganski.

In July 1942, the Libau ghetto was created. Fanny helped set up a ghetto clinic. After fifteen months, the ghetto was liquidated; the Jews were taken to Kaiserwald Concentration Camp (Riga), where Fanny and Jenny worked; Fanny’s mother and youngest sister were selected and murdered in Auschwitz. 

From late 1944 through mid-1945, Fanny, her husband Monya and, Jenny were transferred to other concentration camps, then to a floating barge, where Monya died from typhus (one day before the barge arrived at Kiel and freedom), and finally to Kiel, where their typhus as treated in a hospital. During her recuperations, Fanny was offered and accepted a position with UNRRA in Germany.  This gave her contact with Va’ad Hatzalah, which was arranging transport of survivors to Sweden.  Fanny needed to get to Sweden in order to obtain a US visa for herself, Jenny and a friend she had taken responsibility for during the time in the camps (Roma). Fanny negotiated with Va’ad Hatzalah to assist with arranging for the transport to Sweden in exchange for them taking her, Jenny and Roma to Sweden. In April,1946, the three of them were taken to Sweden. Through connections that extended back to Libau, Fanny was offered a job with the World Jewish Congress in Stockholm.

When Fanny failed to obtain a US visa, due to quotas, she agreed to move to Israel, (Palestine), but before moving, she met another survivor from Libau, who was in Stockholm preparing to emigrate to Johannesburg, South Africa. When the friend was in South Africa, she mentioned Fanny to Louis Krashinsky, who had left Libau before the war.  He contacted Fanny and eventually convinced her to stop in South Africa on her way to Israel. Three weeks after arriving, Fanny and Louis were engaged.; she and Louis (now Krasner) were married in 1949.  The Krasner family moved to the United States, one son (to San Diego) and their daughter (to Los Angeles) in 1978 and one son (to New Jersey for college) and Louis and Fanny (to San Diego) in 1979. Sadly, within a year, Louis had died from a heart attack and Fanny struggled to continue.

In 1982, Fanny met and married Morris Lebovits.  They were happily married for fourteen years; Morris passed away in 1996.

Fanny continues to work hard for Jewish causes, particularly in the San Diego Jewish community.  She kvells from her nine grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren, each of whom are steeped in the values so dear to Fanny.  Fanny remains an optimist, talking to diverse groups to help prevent another Holocaust.

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