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Livia Fränkel | Photos and Documents

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Livia Fränkel, 2015.

Livia's sister Hédi and Livia, approximately 7 and 3 years old. In those days people did not have private cameras. When they wanted to eternalize the children they simply went to the photographer’s. Livia comments the photo: "Mum brought pyjamas. I’m sure she thought that we would look cute in them. I remember her changing my clothes and combing my hair. After that she put on the freshly ironed bows and ribbons. You may see in the picture that I’m angry. The reason is that when we entered the photographer’s I caught sight of a doll. I pounced at it, took it in my hand and held it hard. The photographer only had one doll. Of course my sister wanted to have it too. I remember that we started to fight. To mum it was embarrassing that we fought. So she tried to do justice. She decided that my sister could hold the doll, as she was the older. In the picture you can see my sister’s triumphant face. To me of course this was terribly unfair. Mum tried to bribe me with an ugly dog and I didn’t want it. I took the dog and threw it away. Then I stood there and looked really mad." Note: After the war some of Livia’s and Hédi’s relatives went back to Sighet and many of them stayed in the family’s house. The people found a lot of old photos in the attic and were wise enough to understand how much they meant to Livia and Hédi, and sent the photos to them.

This is a picture of Livia's family: Livia (in the middle), her sister Hédi, and their parents Frida and Ignatz. The picture was taken in 1936 when Livia was 7 years old and her sister 12.

When this picture was taken Livia was 9 years old. She performed for charity as "flowergirl". Livia comments the photo: "It was a great success. I loved the theatre. I danced and acted. I gave this photo to my beloved uncle Alex." On the back of the photo it says: "With a lot of love to my Alex and Helen from Livi. At this performance I danced as a flowergirl. 1937 Sighet. Livi, 9 years old."

Livia left this card at her arrival in Sweden. She was told to fill out details of her origin and address in Sighet.

This is Livia's application for a residence permit in Sweden. It was "approved" for two years, but Livia became a Swedish citizen already in 1951.

This document is a compilation, or a certificate, showing Livia's whereabouts during her first time in Sweden. On the 11th of July 1945, Livia was ’quartered’ in the Linné school, where she spent the following three weeks. Afterwards, she was moved to Hjälmared (Hjelmared), and further on to Lovö. From there, Livia went to a boarding school in Smedsbo, Dalecarlia. In Dalecarlia, she learnt the basics of the Swedish language. In the spring of 1946, Livia moved into an apartment in Stockholm, together with her sister Hédi. In 1947 Livia married Hans Fränkel, and she became a Swedish citizen in 1951.

This is a page from Livia's Romanian passport, or "card of persona", which she got in Sweden in 1948. At the same time, the city of Stockholm’s crises committee gave Livia coupons – also called "purchase cards" – for coffee, butter and soap. Livia comments the photo: "This is the first photography taken of me after the liberation. You can see that my hair had started to grow. When the photography was taken, I had started eating again and the body, as well as the face, became swollen. That is why it is difficult for me to recognise myself in the picture.”

This is Livia's application for a "Red Cross Refugee" visa, even though she wasn’t actually a refugee. The document contains her name, birth date, her being an "orthodox Jewess" from Romania, and a verification that she had studied in upper secondary school. In the lower part of the document it says 7/7, 1945. In another document there’s a stamp with the date 7/11, and this later date may be the day Livia arrived in Sweden.

Livia in front of the former house of the Szmuk family at the Hospital Street in Sighet. The photo was taken in 2013.