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Holocaust

Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt grappled with the Holocaust throughout her lifetime, creating the concept of “the banality of evil” to understand the widespread complicity in the mass killings.

Madeleine Kunin

Madeline Kunin broke ground as the first woman governor of Vermont and the only woman to serve three terms as governor before making history again as ambassador to Switzerland, facilitating compensation from Swiss banks to Holocaust survivors.

Gay Block

Gay Block’s photography allowed her to explore surprising facets of her subjects, from girls at summer camp to Holocaust survivors to her own mother.

But the Giraffe

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to catch the final performance of Underground Railway Theater’s Brundibar & But the Giraffe, which was actually two plays separated by an intermission. The first of which, But the Giraffe, by multiple-award-winning playwright Tony Kushner, is about a little girl given a choice; her family is frantically packing up their belongings, and there is very little room left in their suitcase, and she must choose between bringing her beloved toy giraffe or the score of an opera for children, Brundibar.

Marillyn Tallman

Marillyn Tallman helped Jews make new lives for themselves during some of the most monumental conflicts of the twentieth century.

Jill Weinberg

A career serving the Jewish Federation brought Jill Weinberg to her life’s work as the first director of the Midwest Regional Office of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Denise Schorr

As a member of the French Resistance, Denise Schorr began saving Jewish children when she was still just seventeen.

Anne Jackson

Motivated by a desire to experience life and have her voice heard, Anne Jackson participated in community activism ranging from the March on Washington to Holocaust education.

A Tradition of Taking Risks

In traditional society, men are seen as the risk takers, while women are supposed to be docile homemakers. When women step up to the plate, it stands out. To me, the women who bravely put aside their fears and take matters into their own hands are the ones who make the difference and are role models for all people.

In the Torah, there is a story of two women, Shifra and Puah, and the risks they took to save the lives of some children in Egypt. These midwives worked for the Israelites and took orders from Pharaoh, who knew the two of them and specifically told them to kill any male children born to Hebrew mothers, but they chose to not listen to him. It’s not clear if these two women were part of the Jewish people or if they were Egyptians. Still, their story takes place for a reason, not just to explain how Moses survived, but also to bring a lesson to future Jews about courage and the impact of the risks they take.

Frieda Piepsch Sondland

A designer of haute couture, Frieda Sondland used her creative skills to survive the Holocaust. Born in Berlin, Germany in 1921, she married Gunther Sondland when she was sixteen and a half years old. When she was seventeen, and pregnant with her first child, Frieda and her parents were forced to leave Germany for South America. Frieda supported herself and her daughter by working as a clothing designer in Montevideo, Uruguay. Eight years later, Gunther joined them. Frieda and Gunther moved to Seattle in 1953 to reunite with Gunther’s family who had emigrated there after the war. In Seattle, Frieda worked in the alterations department for both John Doyle Bishop, and Frederick and Nelson until she and Gunther opened their dry cleaning and alterations business in West Seattle. In 1957, their son, Gordon, was born. Since arriving in the United States, Frieda has become a beloved and active member of Seattle’s Jewish community.

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How to cite this page

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

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