What story? Who tells it?

This is a web exhibition about my mother’s life and Artistic/Creative talent in America 1908 – 2009.  The exhibition is made up of stories and photographs from her particular life.  Many of the pictures show her talent for Fashion in this way.

Frieda Politzer, was born in 1908, to Ida and Charles Politzer.  She was the second child, after her Jewish Austro-Hungarian parents arrived via Ellis Island in America in 1906.


Josephine, Berth, Frieda

She lived during the Great Depression of 1929.

Like many parents who arrived in America before or during the depression – working to survive – they raised their children to find a useful and marketable occupation.  My mother’s artistic talent was funneled into the most practical of the skills/occupations/crafts at which she excelled.

Frieda and Parents

Frieda and Parents

She sewed, so, apparently just before the great depression, her father bought her a dry-cleaning establishment (a shop where clothes were accepted, dry cleaned and returned to customers), where she could also use her talent to repair customer’s clothing and………     When the great depression hit, she was left with the debt, to repay the loan that bought the shop.

One of her earliest friendships was with a family that had one child, a daughter about her age.  The mother of this girlfriend apparently recognized my mother’s artistic bend and flare for fashion.   This woman gave my mother the name Madame Fritzie and said that Fritzie should become a Fashion Designer.  The name stuck.  For most of her life my mother was called Fritzie and during my childhood she often told the story of how she got the name and why.

The posts in this web exhibition describe my mother’s life.  

They are excerpts of the few short conversations I recorded with her and the memories of her favorite sister, Rose Politzer, who later became Polly.  Polly, in her 80’s wrote her memories, from which I pull passages relevant also to my mother’s life and story.   

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These passages are meant to describe the setting, the atmosphere that formed my mother’s accomplishments and her creativity.

The pictures that I have of my mother and some of the clothes she designed & made are a testament to a woman’s effort to express her creativity as much as she was able.  There are very few of these pictures, but many of them are clothes she made for herself or others.

If anyone in the family has the originals of some of the pictures on this site, please send me copies……… If anyone in the family can help identify or correct the identity of people in the pictures, places or events, please feel free to send me your comments.

Lesley (Pollak) Woodfin, Madame Fritzie’s Daughter






Article Name
What story? Who tells it? (synopsis)
Frieda Politzer, was born in 1908, to Ida and Charles Politzer. She was the second child, after her Jewish Austro-Hungarian parents arrived via Ellis Island in America in 1906.

4 thoughts on “What story? Who tells it?

  1. very inspiring as usual Lesley, the old pics and the stories are awsome..the idea of loaylty to your mother also is very impressing.

    • Well, Hatem,
      You must know that one of the 10 commendments is to honor your mother and father. I was only able to half of this commendment, but at least I tried. All the best!

  2. Very moving and nicely done story. A reminder that behind the old , the infirm there is often a history that many of us cannot imagine .

  3. Aunt Lesley, this website is so awesome! I am learning things I never knew about Grandmother.

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