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Holocaust

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.

Leni Yahil

From the 1960s, Yahil played a regular role in other aspects of Holocaust study. Several of her articles were groundbreaking and served as points of departure for the developing field of Holocaust studies and Holocaust instruction in universities, for example in the areas of Jewish resistance in the Holocaust; comparative studies between the Netherlands and Romania, and the Netherlands and Denmark; and Jews in concentration camps in Germany. She also offered a scathing criticism of the revisionist edition of Eichmann’s memoirs. In order to comprehend the broader picture, Yahil emphasized the Jewish aspect of the Holocaust and insisted on the importance of western Europe.

Women's Health in the Ghettos of Eastern Europe

One of the main effects of ghetto life on individuals was the deterioration in their health. The state of women’s health in the ghetto was dictated in most cases by the unusual circumstances under which every ghetto existed.

Women in the Holocaust

While women’s experiences during the Holocaust were not entirely different from those of men, it would be false and misleading to assert that they were identical. There were many instances in which an individual’s ordeal was shaped by his or her gender and it is only by understanding what was unique to women—and what was unique to men—that we can provide a complete account of what occurred.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Holocaust." (Viewed on December 19, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/holocaust>.

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