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Holocaust

Vladka Meed

Vladka Meed, whose given name was Feigele Peltel, was a member of the Jewish underground in the Warsaw ghetto from its first days. The daughter of Shlomo and Hanna Peltel, she was born on December 29, 1921 in Warsaw, where she became active in the Zukunft, the youth organization of the S.C., a strong Jewish socialist-democratic party, founded in 1897.

Fanny E. Holtzmann

Fanny E. Holtzmann was a middle child in a family of seven children. Born in Brooklyn to Henry and Theresa Holtzmann, she grew up ignored by her busy family. Her close relationship with her maternal grandfather was crucial in encouraging Fanny, once labeled the “class dunce,” to complete three years of high school and enroll in night classes at Fordham University’s law school. During the day, she worked as a clerk for a theatrical law firm. The only woman to graduate in her law class of 1922, she opened her office half an hour after passing the bar.

Holocaust Survivors: Rescue and Resettlement in the United States

They had made it through World War II and now they were coming to America, 140,000 strong. The women, along with the men, had survived the rigors of the ghettos, the horrors of the concentration camps, the final agony of the death marches. They had been in hiding, or fighting with the partisans. They had escaped to the Soviet Union, some to Shanghai. And even after the war, they had been penned into displaced persons camps, in a holding pattern, waiting for a place to live, determined to get out of Europe. Now America was finally opening its doors, the doors that had been so tightly guarded during the war and, before, in the 1930s. And the American Jewish community was about to shoulder a responsibility that would sorely test its resources, commitment, and understanding.

Bessie Abramowitz Hillman

Bas Sheva Abramowitz (“Bessie” was created by an Ellis Island immigration officer) was born on May 15, 1889, in Linoveh, a village near Grodno in Russia. She was one of ten children born to Emanuel Abramowitz, a commission agent, and Sarah Rabinowitz. In 1905, Bessie, who spoke only Yiddish and some Russian, joined an older cousin in immigrating to America. Most 1905 immigrants fled czarist oppression and anti-Jewish violence, but Bessie reported that her aim in leaving home was to escape the services of the local marriage broker.

Anna Braude Heller

Dr. Anna Braude Heller was born on January 6, 1888 in Warsaw to Aryeh Leib Broddo of Grodno and Tauba Litwin of Bialystok. She was the oldest of four daughters. Her father was a well-to-do merchant, and her mother assisted him. Heller was raised in an open, traditional household. Her father was religiously observant but very liberal in his outlook. The parents spoke Yiddish between themselves and Polish with their children. Heller was an excellent student, highly independent in her opinions, with special sensitivity to the needs of others.

Krystyna Zywulska

Krystyna ?ywulska published her war memoirs, Przezylam Oswiecim (I Survived Auschwitz), in which she does not mention her Jewish origin at all and presents herself as a Christian Pole (for example, she mentions receiving parcels and celebrating Christmas), although in several places she expresses sympathy for the plight of Jewish prisoners and victims. In 1963, however, she published another autobiographical novel, Pusta woda (Empty water), which covers an earlier period of her stay in the Warsaw ghetto and in which she speaks from her Jewish point of view.

Rajzel Zychlinski

Rajzel Zychlinski’s poetry was shaped by the hopes and horrors of the twentieth century. She lived in Poland, the Soviet Union, France and the United States and was fluent in five languages, but for over seventy years she wrote only in the one idiom that was truly hers: Yiddish.

Margarete Zuelzer

Margarete Zuelzer’s life epitomizes both the successes and frustrations of women scientists in academia in the first half of the twentieth century. One of the first generation of women scientists in Germany and also one of the first to receive an appointment in a ministry of the Weimar Republic, she was forced to flee from Nazi Germany. Unable to find refuge, she was murdered in 1943.

Mala Zimetbaum

Mala Zimetbaum, the first Jewish woman to escape from Auschwitz, was recaptured, interrogated and sentenced to die in Birkenau.

Hanna Zemer

Many years later, when Zemer reached the height of her career as editor of the newspaper Davar and as a leading journalist in Israel, she wrote a book about her travels in the Jewish world entitled God Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, which contained a rare account of her return visit to the Ravensbruck concentration camp where she was imprisoned during the final months of World War II.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Holocaust." (Viewed on October 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/holocaust>.

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