Recha Freier (Schweitzer)
|Death:||Died in Jerusalem, Israel|
|Place of Burial:||Har Hamenuchot, Jerusalem|
|Occupation:||founded the Youth Aliyah organization in 1933|
|Managed by:||Nurit Miller|
Historical records matching Recha Freier
About Recha Freier
Recha Freier (Hebrew: רחה פריאר) (October 29, 1892 in Norden, Ostfriesland – April 2, 1984 in Jerusalem) founded the Youth Aliyah organization in 1932. The organization saved the lives of 22,000 Jewish children by helping them to leave Nazi Germany for Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel Recha Freier was the wife of Rabbi Moritz Freier, who was a rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin between the years 1926 and 1939. In the beginning of the year 1932 she was approached by a group of six young lads who asked her help. They were all dismissed from their place of work on account of their religion. They asked Recha Freier for advice as to what they could do. Recha Freier told them that the solution to their problem would be to send them to Palestine to settle them in a Kibbuts where they could work and continue their education. The first person, outside her family, with whom Recha Freier shared her ideas was Enzo Sireni co-founder of Kibbuts Givat Brenner, who visited Berlin at that time. At his suggestion she wrote to the Jewish Workers' Union in Palestine in order to enquire which Kibbuts would be willing to absorb her first group of olim for a two to three year program of "Hachshara" that is to say training. Recha Freier's repeated effors to obtain certificates for the Youth who sought her help - by now the number of candidates had risen to 25 -- met with opposition. One of the first people
In 1933, when the Nazis began firing Jews from their jobs because of their Jewish origins, Freier conceived the idea of Youth Aliyah. "The utter senselessness of Jewish life in the Diaspora stood palpably before my eyes," she wrote. She devoted the rest of her life to the rescue of Jewish children and arranging for their transport to Palestine. At that point in time Henrietta Szold had refused to take part being as she had no idea of the building danger to the Jews in Germany, and thought it a pity to interfere with their education. However, Hitler's rise to power and the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935 persuaded Szold that there was indeed a pressing need for the program
. Youth Aliyah used controversial and gray zone methods, even illegal methods, to get as many as possible children out alive. Though Youth Aliyah succeeded in saving more than 7,600 children from Nazi Germany, Freier suffered great sorrow all her life for not having saved more.
In 1940 Freier was betrayed by some colleagues. Having been forewarned, she managed to flee Germany alive, taking with her another 40 teenagers. Before immigrating to Palestine, she helped smuggle an additional 90 Jewish children out of Yugoslavia.
In 1957, Freier founded the Israel Composers Fund and sponsored the Israel Testimonium, a music event that took place in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. She wrote poetry and prose, and some of her poems were set to music by German Jewish composers.
Recha Freier died in 1984 in Jerusalem.
In 1981, Freier was awarded the Israel Prize for her special contribution to society and the State of Israel
Recha Freier's Timeline
October 29, 1892
Munich, Bavaria, Germany
July 16, 1920
July 15, 1923
April 2, 1984