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Communism

Esther Rosenthal-Shneiderman

Esther Rosenthal-Shneiderman, a Yiddish educator, journalist and memoirist, was born in Czestochowa (Poland) in 1902 and died in Jerusalem in 1989. Her books concentrate on personalities and events in Ukraine and Birobidzhan.

Olga Benário Prestes

Although Olga Benário Prestes is famous in Brazil and was considered a great heroine in the German Democratic Republic, her name is not well known in the United States.

Zosha Posnanska

Sofia (Zosha) Posnanska, one of the unsung Jewish heroes of World War II, lived only thirty-six years, three of them during the war in Europe.

Ana Pauker

Romanian Communist leader and Romania’s Foreign Minister from 1947 to 1952, the first woman in the modern world ever to hold so senior a ministerial postion.

Gill Marcus

Gill Marcus, who never married, was born in Johannesburg in 1949. Her grandparents were from Lithuania but her parents, Molly and Nathan, were born in South Africa. Both her parents were members of the South African Communist Party and from an early age Gill was made aware of the iniquities of apartheid; the Marcus home, open to people across the color line, was very different from that of the average white South African household.

Rosa Luxemburg

Rosa Luxemburg was one of the great Marxist theorists of the twentieth century; her radical conception of socialist democracy stands in opposition to both bolshevik authoritarianism and technocratic reformism. Born in the Polish city of Zamosc (75 km SE of Lublin), she grew up in an assimilated, middle class Jewish family. She learned German at home and, undoubtedly, a certain affinity for enlightenment ideals. Luxemburg would never join the famous Jewish socialist organization known as the Bund, and she was basically unconcerned with issues of identity. It was during her high school years that she met Leo Jogiches (1867–1919), who would play a central role in the history of continental socialism. They became youthful lovers, but even after the end of their romantic relationship, they would continue to work together. Her engagement with political issues began while she was still in high school as a member first of the Proletariat, the first socialist organization in Poland. Internationalist in orientation, concerned with building a mass base, it was decimated by the government following the strike wave of the 1880s. Luxemburg fled her homeland in 1887 and later enrolled in the University of Zurich, where she completed a dissertation on “The Industrial Development of Poland” (1898).

Hildegard Löwy

Born in 1922, Hildegard Löwy was the youngest member of the Baum Gruppe, a mainly Jewish resistance group against the Nazi regime in Berlin. She belonged to the sub-group of Heinz Joachim, which operated jointly with Herbert Baum’s group.

Mischket Liebermann

Born on November 18, 1905, Mischket Liebermann was the fifth of eight children in a poor family that lived in the Galician [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:404]shtetl[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] of Tytschin (Tyczyn), which had two synagogues. The one that had a golden dome was where the rich prayed, while the old ramshackle one served the poor. This was where her father, Pinchus Elieeser Liebermann, served as rabbi. Fearing pogroms, the family fled to Berlin in 1914. Here, living in the slum Scheunenviertel, her father soon gathered an orthodox congregation around him and established a synagogue in the Grenadierstrasse. As his daughter lovingly describes him, he was in constant movement, a one-man service combination, who cared for his flock from the cradle to the grave, as mohel (circumciser) and [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:299]Bar Mitzvah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] teacher, as celebrant at weddings, as a dayan granting divorce, as leader of prayers and as a judge in the ghetto.

Bella Lewitzky

For more than six decades, Bella Lewitzky, a maverick in the world of modern dance, distinguished herself as a preeminent performer, choreographer, artistic director, educator, public speaker, and civic activist. With an unshakable preference for living in the West, she defied norms that posited New York City as the center of American dance, maintaining the Lewitzky Dance Company in Los Angeles for over thirty years. She was also known for two highly publicized encounters with the federal government, risking professional ostracism to stand upon principle.

Carol Weiss King

Carol Weiss King was one of the outstanding practitioners of immigration law during the period bounded by the Palmer Raids and the McCarthy era. In her thirty-year career, she represented hundreds of foreign-born radicals threatened with deportation in administrative proceedings in the lower courts and in the Supreme Court.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Communism." (Viewed on April 1, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/communism>.

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