Frida Motskina was born in 1916 in the Jewish agricultural colony of Uglo-Chernevka, 25 kilometers northeast of Mogilev, Belorussia. The family was religiously observant. Nevertheless, after the collectivization of 1930-31, her father, David Motskin, was "elected" chairman of a new kolkhoz, and he was able to combine the duties of a Soviet functionary with regular synagogue attendance. In 1931, Frida entered the pharmaceutical technikum (college) in Mogilev; upon graduating from it, she went to Dnepropetrovsk, eastern Ukraine. There, her aunt made her a match with her friend's son, a student at the local Architectural Institute. However, with the beginning of the Soviet-Finnish (Winter) war of 1939-40, her would-be husband was drafted into the Red Army and killed on one of the first days of the war. Frida, too, was drafted, and was discharged in 1940 as a lieutenant of the medical service.
In June 1941, the Soviet-German war broke out, and Lieutenant Frida Motskina was drafted into once again – right from the pharmacy at which she worked. She was sent to Sevastopol, Crimea, and went on to spend the following three years aboard the SS Sovetskaia Bukovina, serving as head of the pharmacy of the 19th Mobile Surgical Group on the Black Sea. Despite its ostensibly "civilian" status (Sovetskaia Bukovina even had red crosses painted on its steamer pipes), the ship also transported military equipment, and was therefore bombed by enemy aircraft. Frida was awarded two medals, "For the Defense of Sevastopol" and "For the Defense of the Caucasus". At some point, the commander of the Group recommended Frida for a military order. He summoned her and told her that the only obstacle preventing her from receiving the award and being promoted was the fact that she was not a Party member; he suggested that she join the Communist Party. Frida refused, citing her religious faith. One day, Sovetskaia Bukovina hit a mine; Frida was the only one of the four pharmacist girls to survive the explosion of the steamer.
After the end of the war, Frida Motskina served at a POW camp in Western Ukraine. She knew that her whole family had been murdered by the Nazis in Uglo-Chernevka, but this knowledge did not affect her treatment of the German POWs. After being discharged, she returned to Dnepropetrovsk, later moving to Moscow.
Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Frida received an offer to move to a hostel for retired veterans. Frida refused, because the hostel was sponsored by the Russian Orthodox Church, and non-kosher food was served in it. She preferred to move to Germany, where her nephews had settled before. She resided in Munich.