Translation of article from the Braunschweiger Zeitung, November 12, 1994
Recipient of the Braunschweig Civic Medal, Nellie H. Friedrichs, Has Died at 86
A NOSTALGIC LOVE FOR BRAUNSCHWEIG
By Peter Lufft
From New York comes the news that Nellie H. Friedrichs, n6e Nellie Bruell, a Jewish woman who was held in highest
regard both there and in Braunschweig, has died at the age of 86. Through her loyalty to Braunschweig, a city which was
not even her birthplace, she came to be part of our local cultural history. She wrote her personal recollections of this city,
which were published by the city archive and city library as memoirs of her life between 1912 and 1937.
These simple, effective recollections, very personal and not at all pretentious, tell the story of a Jewish child who, raised
in a protective atmosphere in Braunschweig, matured emotionally and physically into a young woman here. It was at the
Baltic resort town of GrÃ¶mitz that, eighty years ago, on August 1, 1914, she heard the word â€œwarâ€� for the first
She was born in Lyon, where her father was the head of a silk export firm. After her parents were divorced she came
with her mother to Braunschweig to live in the house where her grandmother Auguste Herxheimer lived across from the
city park; she attended the Lyceum Kleine Burg right through to graduation, studied at the Technische Hochschule (TH),
got engaged to the youngest mathematics professor at the TH, thus experienced a highly dangerous attachment to an â
€œAryan,â€� and then, separately from him, emigrated in 1937 via Prague and Paris to the USA where they were able
to marry. He, Kurt O. Friedrichs, became one of the most eminent mathematical scientists in the world, received
countless honors, and was the member of numerous academies, including the Braunschweig Academy of Sciences. They
had five talented and successful children and seven [sic] grandchildren. President Carter awarded him the National
Medal of Science. Friedrichs died in 1983 in New Rochelle, NY, were they had lived for half a century.
Nothing -- no amount of honors or family happiness -- could diminish the closeness, indeed the nostalgic love, that Nellie
Friedrichs felt for Braunschweig.
Her memoirs demonstrated this. In 1989 she received from Mayor Gerhard Glogowski the civic medal of the city of
Braunschweig. Her son Christopher, a historian in Vancouver, and Dr. Garzmann of the city archive, the publisher of her
memoirs, were present. In her memoirs she wrote that once some village children in the Liineberg Heath with whom she
wanted to play, incited by an older child, ran away from her. â€œThis was the first and also the only time during my
childhood when I explicitly experienced anti-semitism.â€� She was an impressive personality. She reached out to
others. Her spirit and her attitude contributed to the reconciliation of Germans and Jews in her old hometown.