Friday, December 10, 2021

The Power of a Wedding Dress @ USHMM

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum LogoLike many brides to be, Holocaust survivor Lili Lax dreamed of getting married in a white wedding dress. But it was 1945. She and her future husband, Ludwig Frydman, had met and were living in a displaced persons camp in Celle, Germany. Both had miraculously survived multiple concentration camps, while most of Lili’s family and all of Ludwig’s had perished during the Holocaust.

As the couple began rebuilding their lives together, they had little money and goods were scarce. Nonetheless, Ludwig wanted to help make Lili’s dream come true. So, he traded coffee and cigarettes to a former German airman for a white rayon parachute. And Lili traded her cigarette ration to have it transformed into a beautiful gown.

Explore our site to learn more about Lili and how her dress helped rebuild lives.


A Dress Can Bring Hope | Explore Now

Lili’s dress became a symbol of hope and joy after a long chapter of unimaginable persecution and devastation. Lili not only wore it at her wedding on January 27, 1946—she also loaned it to many other women in her camp who had survived the Holocaust.

When Lili and Ludwig—later Lilly and Aaron—immigrated to America in 1948, the dress came with them. Many decades later, she donated it to the Museum, where it’s been carefully preserved ever since, along with tens of thousands of other precious objects from this period in history. Like Lili’s dress, each one has a story to tell.

Learn more about Lili, the history of her wedding dress, and the Lax and Frydman families.


Suzy Snyder
Museum Curator

Photos: Lili and Ludwig on their wedding day. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Lilly Lax Friedman; Lili’s wedding gown. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Lilly Friedman