Paul Fränkel

A Tribute from the Family

Paul Fränkel, the second youngest of seven siblings, was born in Nepolokovitz, Bukovina on Purim 8 March 1900 into a chassidic family. His father, Rabbi David Frankel, was a prominent member of the Community.

Further background to the family

At an early age, he decided that life in a shtetl was not for him and following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 he and his family fled Bukovina to Vienna. He subsequently served in the Austro – Hungarian army during the the First World War. In Vienna, he went into the hosiery business as an agent for a Swiss mens shirt company acting as a travelling salesman, and eventually opened a shop with one of his brothers. He married Therese Lampl in Vienna in 1931 and in 1932 following the deep depression and with the rise of anti-semitism decided to emigrate to Sweden with his wife, his sister-in-law and three other young couples in the hope of finding a better life pursuing different business interests.

In Sweden, by chance he went into the fur business and prospered becoming highly successful. He became a Swedish citizen in 1941. During the Second World War he made strenuous efforts to save Jews from Nazi persecution, working with leaders of the World Jewish Congress. He visited the Romanian Embassy to intervene on behalf of Romanian Jews, and took part in meetings with Raoul Wallenberg in the home of the then Chief Rabbi, Marcus Ehrenpreis, before Wallenberg’s ill-fated mission to Hungary. He worked with a committee, headed by Gillel Storch , which helped Jews escape the Holocaust . He was also able through his contacts to help members of his family escape the Holocaust to Israel and the US in 1939.

After the war, he raised two daughters in Stockholm, was very prominent in the Jewish community and highly active in the Great Synagogue of Stockholm as a warden for many years and was the Chairman of the Swedish Keren Hayesod for twenty years – the local equivalent of the JIA helping to raise funds for the establishment of the State of Israel. He also led a Swedish Government mission to the new state in 1949.

He had a passion for life, was a consummate traveller with a particular love for alpine skiing. He regularly found himself in London to visit one of his daughters who had married and settled there. He passed away in Stockholm on 16 March 1993 survived by large families in both London and Stockholm.

Paul Frankel was a formidable individual, a man devoted to his family and community, a man of compassion who possessed extraordinary business acumen using all his undoubted skills to save a significant number of Jews from the horrors of the Holocaust. It is highly appropriate for him to be remembered at the Wiener Library.


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