Like 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
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.
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.
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