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August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
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A Jewish American Warrior

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We asked Anita to share some of her war experiences as well:

Where you born and what was life like for you during the war?

Anita Federman: I was born and raised in Liverpool, England. My mother was from London and my father from Manchester. World War II in England started in 1939. I was 18 years old and all men and women over the age of 18 were conscripted. I was assigned to the Ambulance Corp as a driver. I was lucky enough to be stationed in my home city of Liverpool. I was the only Jew in my unit. There was no kosher food available in the service, but I was fortunate to be close to home so food was not an issue.

Liverpool was the second largest seaport in England at that time, and therefore became a prime target of the German Air Force. We were subject to some of the heaviest air raids. To protect our family, my father had the back garden dug out to build an underground air raid shelter.

Many of the wounded were brought to Liverpool from France, and it was our job to transport them from the hospital ships to the various hospitals. We did not have enough ambulances to tend to so many wounded, so commercial trucks were converted to ambulances.

You must have had some incredible experiences?

I had a few incidents of hashgacha pratis. We always drove in convoys to the docks to meet the hospital ships. Liverpool, which is in the north of England, is normally covered with dense cloud cover. One night when I was driving the lead ambulance in a convoy of ambulances to the docks, no one had warned me in advance that there was a sharp turn at the end of the ramp. We were not allowed to use the headlights due to blackout regulations. Just before the turn, the clouds shifted just enough for the rays of the moon to glimmer on the sea right in front of me, giving me just enough time to make a sharp turn, avoiding falling into the sea.

Another incident occurred a few days after Arthur and I were married (in Liverpool, 1944). Arthur was moved to a transit camp for combat duty in France. He was able to get a 24-hour pass, and he arranged for us to meet in London. We were able to spend a couple of hours together, after which he returned to camp. In the meanwhile, I had missed the last train back to Liverpool. I phoned some friends who lived in London to ask if I could stay overnight with them. I borrowed an alarm clock so I would not have to wake them up in the morning.

To this day I do not know if the alarm clock did not ring, or that I did not hear it. I found out later that day that the train I missed was blown to smithereens by a German air raid.

Baruch Hashem, Arthur and I have been married for 67 years and have been blessed with very caring children, grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren from whom we have lots of nachas.

The Jewish Press thanks Arthur and Anita Federman for their self -sacrifice and wishes them many more years of nachas from their ever-growing family…

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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/a-jewish-american-warrior/2012/07/06/

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