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Felicia Lederberger was born in Tarnów, Poland on March 26, 1940, less than a year after Germany invaded Poland. On June 20, 1942, the Nazi regime forced Felicia and her parents to move into the Tarnów ghetto. In September 1942, Felicia’s father acquired papers for Felicia and her mother that said they were Catholic. The two snuck out of the ghetto and lived in the Polish cities of Iwonicz Zdroj, Milanówek, and Warsaw as non-Jewish Poles. When the Tarnów ghetto was liquidated in fall of 1943, Felicia’s father joined them in Warsaw, though her parents told Felicia that her father had died and Felicia’s father pretended to be a friend of her deceased father. When the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was crushed on October 2, 1944, Felicia and her parents were forced by the Nazis to march from Warsaw with other Poles to a transit camp near Pruszków, Poland. Later that month, they escaped from the camp. Between the fall of 1944 and January 18, 1945, Felicia and her parents lived with another family in Chyliczki, Poland.
Upon liberation in the spring of 1945, they moved to Lodz and in the summer, they moved to Sopot, Poland, where Felicia’s brother was born. In June 1947, they relocated to Brussels, Belgium. In the fall of 1947, Felicia was told by her parents that she was not Catholic and that her “uncle” was actually her father. In 1951, her family moved to Frankfurt, Germany, where Felicia attended school. She went to boarding school in England between 1956 and 1957, and enrolled at the University of Frankfurt in the summer of 1957. Two years later, she met and married Howard Graber, an American chaplain in the U.S. Army. Her daughter and son were born in 1961 and 1963, respectively. The Grabers then emigrated to New York City in 1963. From 1964 to 1965, they lived in Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Ellwood City, Pennsylvania. Howard became the rabbi of a synagogue and Felicia finished her B.A. at the University of Pittsburgh. They lived in Pittsburgh until 1972, where Felicia also received her M.A. in teaching from Duquesne University. She also taught German at Latimer Junior High. In 1972, they moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where she taught a course titled, “Literature of the Holocaust,” at Central Hebrew High School and the Adult Jewish Institute. She retired from teaching in 1996, although she has been a frequent speaker at the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center since 1998. She also published a memoir, Amazing Journey: Metamorphosis of a Hidden Child. Her writings have been published in the Sagarin Review, The First Harvest, and The New Harvest, as well as the child-survivor anthology, And Life is Changed. Felicia and Howard moved to Baltimore in 2013 to be closer to their son.
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