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Bear and Fred

“Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Holland, in a city called Delft, I was Fred’s teddy bear.” Thus begins the tale of a teddy bear who was Fred’s best friend. Fred was a little Jewish boy who had to leave his home and his parents, and live in hiding during the Second World War.

The story is told from the point of view of Bear who doesn’t quite grasp what is going on. But he senses that something bad is happening and is scared that Fred will forget him. But Fred never parts from his only friend. First, they go to Grandpa in Amsterdam, where Fred is warned not to tell anyone who he is. Bear doesn’t get it: Has Fred done something wrong? And what is the yellow star that Grandpa has sewn onto his friend’s coat? And then, living with Grandpa also becomes dangerous, and Fred is given to a strange family. He hides out with them until the war is over, and all this time Bear makes sure to look after him. The two do not part even after Fred is reunited with his family and the world isn’t a scary place anymore.

This is the true story of Fred Lessing, who moved with his family to the USA after the war. Even after he grew up and had his own family, he kept Bear as a reminder of what he had been through. Many years later he gave him to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, so that other children could learn about their story.

English, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish
Title Bear and Fred
Writer's Last Name Argaman
Writer's First Name Iris
Genre Children
Ages 6-8
Illustrations Avi Ofer
Publisher (Hebrew) Hakibbutz Hameuchad
No. Pages 43pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Dubi Shel Fred
  • “Translated from Hebrew, it reads seamlessly and beautifully presents a family caught up in war…Without in any manner diminishing the actual horrors of World War II or any current fighting, the author enables a child to grasp in some small manner the impact of conflict on a family. Moving and accessible.”

    Kirkus Reviews
  • “The author has been in touch with Fred Lessing and received his permission to write his story. The result is superb. There are no horror stories in the book and it is perfectly suitable for small children in pre-school or the early grades of elementary school. ”

    Meira Barnea-Goldberg, Mako
  • “ The book is wonderful and exciting, and so are the illustrations!”