Man dresses depressed Holocaust-survivor grandma as superhero, cheers her up

James sez, "Sacha Goldberger found his 91-year-old Hungarian grandmother Frederika, a WWII survivor, feeling lonely and depressed. To cheer her up, he photographed her dressed up as a fictional superhero. To his surprise, she loved it. The photos are a bit comical, but there's an underlying sense of hope, strength and courage in them."

Grandma's Superhero Therapy (18 photos) (Thanks, James)


  1. These are really wonderful. I hope that Frederika stayed cheered up for a long time. The pics have certainly improved my outlook on the day. :}

    1. I thought it was her super dog sidekick doing the driving. Not to be confused with the hot dog she was using for her sandwich.

  2. And I was convinced I was going to have a shitty day today. It is better now and that is good.

  3. This grandma/grandson duo rock! Thanks for linking us out Boing Boing! Love your site!

    My Modern Metropolis

  4. You may like to know that car is a 3 wheel BMW Isetta. It has a single cylinder 300cc engine. My father had three of these in the 60s.

      1. It depends on where you bought it. The British-market versions had 3 wheels so they counted as motorcycles for licence and tax purposes (at the time it was much easier to get a motorcycle licence than a car licence).

  5. To his surprise, she loved it.

    To his surprise?? One has to wonder why he did it, if he didn’t expect her to love it.

    Aw, heck, I won’t be a quibbler. Between Super-Gran above and the Louie Zamperini book, the Greatest Generation is once again doing some heavy spirit-lifting this week.

    1. That’s exactly what I was thinking: if he didn’t expect her to enjoy the experience then it sounds more like an act of cruel humiliation against an already-depressed senior than anything else. Glad to hear she did, though.

    2. One has to wonder why he did it, if he didn’t expect her to love it.

      You might be reading too much into that – my understanding was that the surprise was simply over how much she got into the act, instead of just going along with her grandson’s well-meaning attempts to cheer her up.

  6. I’ve said it before: if there’s anybody who’s allowed to get their joy in any old harmless way they damn well please, it’s a Holocaust survivor. Brava, Frederika.

  7. This is super cute, but a weird note: I read an article in a car magazine ages ago where an auto journalist drove all over Germany in a BMW Isetta, and found during his travels that a lot of Germans don’t really have fond memories of that particular car, due to BMW’s split during and after the war into BMW in Munich and EMW in Eisenach. Dredges up old 40s and 50s Cold War memories.

    So from that perspective it’s odd to see a Holocaust survivor in one. But it’s a perfect car for the photos. I realize now that I’m probably just sharing trivia. Um.

  8. Minor quibble and y’all will probably hate me for this, but a person who didn’t spend time in a concentration camp isn’t really a Holocaust survivor, is she? Was she persecuted by the Nazis?

  9. Or, to be more clear, a person who wasn’t persecuted by the Nazis isn’t a Holocaust survivor, is she?

    Maybe I’ve got it wrong, but it doesn’t seem that she was. She helped hide Jews, apparently.

    1. The quote is “WWII survivor” not “Holocaust survivor”.

      People like Frederika voluntarily risked their lives working against the SS, and would suffer the same fate as the people they were protecting if caught: killed or sent off to the camps themselves.

      1. I wasn’t referring to the quote. I was referring to the subject here on BoingBoing, which calls her a Holocaust survivor.

    2. weeklyrob: My great-grandfather’s family spent most of WWII hidden in their neighbor’s cramped basement. He never saw the inside of a concentration camp. Would you like to tell him he is not a holocaust survivor?

      You have no right to classify who is and who isn’t a survivor. Keep those kinds of thoughts to yourself.

      1. smartypants:

        I’m guessing that your great-grandfather’s family was in a basement because the people in it were being persecuted by the Nazis. In that case, I think that my comment applies:

        “Or, to be more clear, a person who wasn’t persecuted by the Nazis isn’t a Holocaust survivor, is she?”

        The question is whether the neighbors (you know, the ones with the basement) were Holocaust survivors. Do you think they were? The grandma in question wasn’t in a basement.

        In any case, I do, in fact, have the right to question whether someone is or isn’t a survivor. I also have the right to classify them, although I didn’t do that. I just asked some questions.

        Please keep YOUR thoughts to yourself, if you’d like. I probably won’t keep mine to myself, but thanks for the advice.

  10. Ethancoop – Of course some of them have been photoshopped! She’s flting through the friggin air in one of them…..

  11. I can only assume that an internet commenter who starts with “Minor quibble and y’all will probably hate me for this,” is probably lonely and just says inflammatory things so people will talk to him.

    I do believe she was a holocaust survivor. She was a jewish person living in a country where laws persecuting jewish people were enacted because of Hitler’s influence. I believe anyone who wants to call him or her self a survivor should be able to, without question.

    Granted, I didn’t see anywhere that she considers herself a survivor, so I guess your comment isn’t that bad, although it’s expressed pretty poorly. I just hope you would never try to tell someone who lived through the holocaust and WWII and chooses to identify with that word that they shouldn’t be using it.

    1. Smarty. you make your assumptions more easily than I make mine.

      For one, since the article doesn’t say that she’s Jewish or a Holocaust survivor, I don’t assume that she is either. It makes sense to ask (which is all I did), because I don’t take the title “Holocaust survivor” lightly.

      You’re sort of playing this as though a Jewish lady who lived through the Nazi occupation is saying that she was a Holocaust survivor, and I’m saying that she’s not.

      But what actually happened is that a women of unknown religion who IS NOT claiming to be a Holocaust survivor was called one by Cory Doctorow and I ASKED whether that was true.

      As for your stupid ad hominem, you can go to hell. I don’t need your history lessons or pop psychobabble. I lost about a third of my family tree to the Holocaust, so stick your high horse up your ass.

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