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 GrÃmitz that, eighty years
ago, on August 1, 1914, she heard the word war for the first time.
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 Aryan, 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. 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.