South Charlotte Weekly
Holocaust survivor Frieda Roos-Van Hessen spent her 100th birthday celebration retelling her story of survival to hundreds of people on April 25 at Hope of Israel Congregation, a Messianic Synagogue in south Charlotte.
Hessen, a famous opera singer during the 1930s and 40s, was forced into hiding when the Nazis occupied Holland, because she was Jewish. She escaped death numerous times, after being smuggled from one hiding place to the next. When she first went into hiding, one stranger, a fellow Jewish man named Isaac Busnach, saved her life by providing her with an address to a safe place where she could escape the Nazis.
Hessen spent most of her life wondering what happened to this heroic man, according to a press release. Days before her party, she was able to connect with Gerrie Polak–Busnach, the daughter of Isaac Busnach. This was her proof that he not only survived, but thrived in Holland after World War II.
Polak-Busnach traveled from Holland to meet Roos-Van Hessen at her birthday party, where Roos-Van Hessen presented her a plaque in commemoration of her father’s heroic act.
The plaque’s inscription reads, “Presented to Gerrie Polak–Busnach on this day of April 25, 2015, in honor and remembrance of her father, Isaac Busnach, for risking his life to save another in Holland during the dark days of the Second World War, 1933- 1945.”
Roos-Van Hessen also spent her birthday rejoicing in her spiritual deliverance that occurred shortly after the war, when she claimed Jesus as her Messiah. She wrote about her spiritual journey in her book, “Life in the Shadow of the Swastika.”
Visit http://www.ahavahpublishing.com/ to listen to a recording from her years as an opera singer and find out more about her book.
Hope of Israel Congregation is located at 11630 Elm Lane.