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Henry Jacob Fruhling

Henry Fruhling was born on May 15, 1912, in Podhajce, Poland. He attended the
University of Warsaw from 1932 to 1936 receiving a degree in Polish law.
When the Nazi troops attached Poland, his parents put him, his brother, and sister on a
ship to the United States with the intent to follow later. Before the ship sailed, his brother and
sister got off the ship to be with their parents.
Henry Fruhling arrived in the United States in 1937 to live in New York with an aunt who
was a federal judge. He often said that his proudest moment in life was when he became a
naturalized American citizen in 1944.
Henry joined the U.S. Army soon after World War II was declared. He served in the 30th
Infantry Division. He was decorated for his military service, twice receiving the Bronze Star Medal
with cluster in also the European Campaign Medal and the U.S. Combat Infantryman's Badge.
After his discharge from the U.S. Army in 1944, he joined the United Nations Relief and
Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA)*, which had the task of caring for refugees and liberated
concentration camp survivors. Herny oversaw 15 displaced persons camps. While he was in
Europe, he ran into a neighbor from his Polish village. Henry asked about his family. The
neighbor told him that he saw the Nazi soldiers take his parents, David and Maria Fruhling, his
younger brother, Sigmund, and his sister, Elsie, out and murder them.
After his efforts in Europe, Henry returned to the States and was employed by a retail
clothing chain. He was sent to Texas as administrative supervisor of clothing stores throughout
the southern areas of Texas.
On a trip to Brownsville he met Mildred Fruhling. They married in 1952 and he adopted
her child, Judy. In 1959, he began a partnership in business with his brother-in-law, Ralph
Frapart, in a fashionable ladies clothing store, "Ralph's". The store was in the family's Palm
Village Shopping Center in Brownsville.
Henry Fruhling was a member of the American Legion, Bnai Brith and Temple Beth-El.
Henry passed away on May 9, 1996, and is buried in the Hebrew Cemetery next to his wife,
Mildred.

*UNRRA= United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was an
international relief agency, largely dominated by the United States but representing 44 nations.
Founded in 1943, it became part of the United Nations in 1945, and it largely shut down operations
in 1947. Its purpose was to "plan, co-ordinate, administer or arrange for the administration of
measures for the relief of victims of war in any area under the control of any of the United Nations
through the provision of food, fuel, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities, medical and other
essential services". [2]  Its staff of civil servants included 12,000 people, with headquarters in New
York. Funding came from many nations, and totaled $3.7 billion, of which the United States
contributed $2.7 billion; Britain, $625 million; and Canada, $139 million.
UNRRA cooperated closely with dozens of volunteer charitable organizations, who sent hundreds of
their own agencies to work alongside UNRRA. In operation only four years, the agency distributed
about $4 billion worth of goods, food, medicine, tools, and farm implements at a time of severe
global shortages and worldwide transportation difficulties. The recipient nations had been especially
hard hit by starvation, dislocation, and political chaos. It played a major role in helping Displaced
Persons return to their home countries in Europe in 1945-46. Many of its functions were transferred
to several UN agencies, including the International Refugee Organization and the World Health

Organization. As an American relief project, it was later replaced by the Marshall Plan, which began
operations in 1948. [3]  However, the historian Jessica Reinisch has shown that UNRRA should not
just figure as a chapter in U.S. history. UNRRA's uniqueness was that it managed to bring together
very different partners and models of international relief, each of which had their own history and
antecedents. [4]