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Betty Goodfriend

Obituary Condolences

Family-Placed Death Notice

GOODFRIEND, Betty Betty Goodfriend, of Dunwoody, died July 28, 2008. Betty was born in Vilkija, Lithuania in 1927. She was the seventh of nine children of Bella and Mordechai Grossman. When she was a baby, her family moved to Klaipeda. When the Germans took Lithuania in 1941, Betty was sent to a ghetto in Slabodka, a suburb of Kaunas, also known as the Kovno Ghetto. Betty managed to survive by being assigned to work in a German hospital laundry, where the work was hard but the food was more plentiful. While there, she found a way to smuggle the guns brought in by the wounded to Partisan fighters in the nearby forests. (Years later, she met a man in Israel who thanked her for having smuggled the gun he used to escape.) In June 1944, she was sent to the Stuthoff Concentration Camp. By 1945, the Nazis, fleeing the advancing Allied Forces, marched those left alive from the camp to Germany. During one of the stops along this death march, 17-year-old Betty made a decision that would save her life. Spotting the lights of a nearby village, she and a handful of others from the camp slipped away during the night. She was able to survive the last few days of the war by falling in with the advancing Russian army where she worked as a nurse. When the war ended in 1945, she found herself in Berlin where she met and married Isaac Goodfriend. It was one of the first Jewish weddings in Berlin after the war. In Isaac, Betty saw patience, personality, intelligence, and most importantly, "kindness in heart,"and Isaac respected Betty's intellect and Orthodox Jewish upbringing, enjoyed her humor, and admired her beauty. From Berlin, Betty and Isaac moved to Paris, where their oldest son, Mark, was born. They then moved back to Berlin for the post-war opportunities, and it was there that Isaac's career as a cantor began. Getting to America was always their goal. Finding that it was easier at the time to get into Canada than the United States, they sailed to Halifax in 1951. The couple eventually ended up in Montreal where Isaac was accepted as cantor of Shaare Zion Congregation. There, Betty got immediately involved in the thriving Jewish community, becoming a force in the Mizrachi movement, in Yiddish groups, and as raconteuse par excellence in retelling the stories of Sholem Aleichem. In 1953, she gave birth to her second son, Enoch. A few years later, Isaac accepted a position at the Community Temple in Cleveland, Ohio. There Betty became active in Holocaust survivors' organizations, and served as president of the Women's Division of the Jewish National Fund Torah Fund, and chairperson of the JNF Women's League. In 1959, Perry was born. In 1965, Isaac and Betty moved to Atlanta to accept a position at the Ahavath Achim Synagogue, then the largest congregation in the Southeast. Betty continued her community work, including her ever-present personal involvement in every educational institution in the Jewish community. She is survived by her husband, Isaac Goodfriend of Dunwoody, and her children, Mark and Suzanne Goodfriend of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Enoch and Kim Goodfriend of Dunwoody, Perry Goodfriend and Kristi Eckerson Goodfriend of Marietta, and her grandchildren, Erica Gosline of Houston, TX, Rachel McDaniel of Greensboro, NC, Avi and Miriam Goodfriend of Dunwoody, and her great-grandchildren, Sylvia Goodfriend, Elijah Goodfriend-Papa and Carly Gosline. Funeral services will be held today, Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 12:00 noon at Congregation Ariel (5237 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody, GA 30338). Internment will take place in Israel. Please sign online guestbook at www.edressler.com In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Congregation Ariel's Hesed Fund. Arrangements by Dressler's Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 30, 2008
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