Jakob Fritz Holzberg was born in 1912 in Chorostkow, Poland. Today he goes by the name Fritz. Fritz grew up in a Jewish family, and his family moved to Vienna, Austria when he was twelve years old. In March of 1938, Germany invaded Austria. The family moved to a Zionist run farm in the countryside in preparation for their eventual life in Palestine. His parents could not get four passports, so Fritz and his brother stayed behind in Vienna while their parents went to Palestine. After enduring a displaced persons camp for several months, the brothers were finally able to leave Vienna.
In 1940, the brothers boarded an Austrian river boat with 1,800 Jewish survivors. They traveled down the Danube to the port of Tulcea, Romania. They traveled from Romania into the Black Sea, Istanbul, and then later into the port of Haifa. The Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary organization, and the British did not want so many refugees entering Palestine, so the ships took the refugees to two different refugee camps, and eventually to the Island of Mauritius.
Fritz wanted to fight prejudice in the world, so he applied to volunteer in the British Army. He fought for five years and eventually he and his brother reunited with their parents in Palestine. Fritz stated, “We can’t always change the world but as an individual you can help change the course of people’s actions.”