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Holocaust

Minna Regina Falk

The liberation of the concentration camps at the end of World War II made a lasting impression on historian Minna Regina Falk. Falk was on leave from her teaching position at New York University (NYU) at the time, serving as an administrator in Europe with the American Red Cross. The events of the war heightened her resolve to return to academia and complete her own book about the history of Germany. Falk rejected other offers of work to return to teaching and research, but NYU was slow to grant her both leave to write and the promotions that came more readily to her male colleagues. Her textbook, The History of Germany: From the Reformation to the Present Day, was not published until 1957. In 1963, thirty-seven years after joining the history faculty, Minna Falk became the first female historian to become full professor at New York University.

Ruth Fainlight

Ruth Fainlight was born in New York on May 2, 1931, the daughter of a British father and an American mother with Russian-Jewish ancestry. In 1946 she settled in England, where she studied at colleges of art in Birmingham and Brighton. She married the writer Alan Sillitoe in 1959. The couple have one son and one daughter. Although a successful writer of short stories, a dramatist/librettist and translator, she is best known for her poetry, whose modern style blends subtle image-making with toughness of expression.

Family During the Holocaust

Where both the preservation of tradition and the acclimatization to social and cultural change are concerned, Jewish folklore attributes to the family a magic role in shaping the lives of individuals and the community at large. However, academic research on the Jewish family is only in its early stages and information on the Jewish family in Eastern Europe is particularly scarce.

Rosa Eskenazi

Roza Eskenazi, arguably the greatest and most renowned Greek diva, was born in Constantinople and named Sarah Skinazi. Roza’s exact date of birth is not known. In her autobiography Auta Pou Thimame (What I Remember) she states that she was born in 1910. Published in 1982, the autobiography is based on interviews Eskenazi gave in 1972. Apart from being forgetful by then, she appears to have deliberately concealed her age, as she probably had done since the 1920s. The Greek musicologist Panayiotis Kounadis is among those who believe that Eskenazi was born between 1883 and 1887, whilst others maintain that she was born between 1890 and 1900.

Rachel Ertel

Born on July 13, 1939 in Slonim, a city in Poland (between the two world wars), Rachel Ertel is unquestionably the most distinguished scholar of Yiddish culture in France. Yiddish culture filled her with pride from a very early age, and she has brilliantly strived since then to revive and keep it alive. She is the daughter of Riwa Mirski (1916–2001), a former student at the teacher-training school of Vilna, and the daughter of Moishe Waldman (1910–1996), a Yiddish poet. Riwa Mirski is better known as an author of novels and short stories under the pen name of Menuha Ram, an acronym of Rachel (her older daughter), Aron (her step-son, b. 1938) and Myriam (her younger daughter, b. 1949). Her best-known works are Vayter fun trakt (Further than thought), Le Vent qui passe (The passing wind, 1974) and Exils (Exiles, 1993).

Lotte Errell

Photojournalist Lotte Errell worked tirelessly to make her adventurous travels in Africa, China and the Middle East accessible to her readers at home in Germany and beyond. Her success illustrates how photography and travel journalism provided women in Weimar-era Germany with new possibilities for earning a living as well as achieving independence in their careers. Errell’s skills combined with the rise in popularity of adventure travel and amateur ethnology to allow her to reach international status. The quality of her reporting and photographs indicates that she would have continued to even higher levels had she not been hindered from continuing her career first by the Nazis’ rise to power and later by her second husband.

Andrea Dworkin

“Every century, there are a handful of writers who help the human race to evolve. Andrea is one of them.” This encomium from Gloria Steinem may, however, be balanced against another comment, by the British critic John Berger, who maintained that Dworkin was “perhaps the worst misrepresented writer in the Western world.” Together, the two statements convey not only Dworkin’s brilliance but also the perhaps predictable antipathy, hostility and even ridicule evoked by the forceful and impassioned attacks on pornography and violence against women for which she became famous—or notorious.

Gusta Dawidson Draenger

Gusta Dawidson was born in 1917 in Cracow to an extremely religious family of Gur hasidim. She was a member of the B’nos Ya’akov youth movement of Agudat Israel. After graduating from the local school, she took supplementary courses at a school for foreign languages.

Ruth Dreifuss

An outspoken and strong feminist, Switzerland’s first Jewish member of the Federal Government and first woman president Ruth Dreifuss was born in St. Gall in Eastern Switzerland on January 9, 1940. Her father Sigi Dreifuss (1899–1956) was from Endingen (Canton of Aargau), one of the two villages of old Switzerland in which Jews could live before the emancipation in 1866. The Dreifuss family was among the oldest in Switzerland. Her mother’s family left Alsace (near Colmar) after the German annexation in 1871 and Ruth’s mother Jeanne Dreifuss-Bicard (1905–1962) was born in St. Gall. Ruth’s brother, Jean Jacques, born in 1936, was a professor of physiology in the faculty of medicine at the University of Geneva.

Sophia Dubnow-Erlich

Although the Jewish academic community has typically cast her as either the daughter of the historian Simon Dubnow or the wife of the Bundist leader Henryk Erlich, Sophia Dubnow-Erlich was in fact a poet, political activist, critic, translator, and memoirist in her own right. Her literary corpus tells the remarkable story of one Eastern European Jewish woman’s entry into two very disparate spheres of activity. Over a lifetime spanning 101 years (forty-four years spent in the United States), Dubnow-Erlich engaged in Jewish socialist party politics, on the one hand, and Russian Silver Age poetry, on the other.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Holocaust." (Viewed on July 24, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/holocaust>.

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