Selma Leydesdorff

Selma Leydesdorff, professor of oral history and culture at the University of Amsterdam, has published extensively on both Jewish history and oral history. Her dissertation, We Lived with Dignity, was published in translation in 1994. She is one of the principal editors of the Memory and Narrative series and is chair of the Commission on the History and Culture of Jews of the Dutch Royal Academy. She has published extensively on the Holocaust and on surviving trauma. She was supervisor for France and the Benelux at the Mauthausen Survivors Documentation Project. At present she is working on an International Forced Labor project regarding the survival stories of the Muslim women of Srebrenica.

Articles by this author

Roosje Vos

Today Roosje Vos is known as a socialist organizer and it is generally assumed that her socialism represented a break from her Judaism. One could well argue, however, that her life followed a pattern similar to that of many radical Jewish women in many parts of the world. From this perspective, her socialist radicalism forms part of a secular Jewish tradition.

Clara Asscher Pinkhof

"Not a great deal is known about this prominent orthodox Jewish writer, who had a huge readership in her day. Her aim was to acquaint Jewish children with the Jewish tradition, which she and her husband felt was under severe threat from assimilation."

Modern Netherlands

Dutch Jews acquired full citizenship rights in 1796. Overnight the “Jewish Nation” as a legal corporation was transformed into a community of individual “Jewish Netherlanders.” In the nineteenth and twentieth century they had to secure a place for themselves in a society which sometimes welcomed them but which was nevertheless permeated with anti-Jewish sentiments and prejudices. Consequently, even fully integrated, “modern” Jews retained an ambivalent relationship with mainstream Dutch-Christian culture.

Rosa Manus

Though Rosa Manus was one of the leading Dutch feminists before World War II, her memory has since been overshadowed by more famous contemporaries such as Aletta Jacobs. The fact that her life was also interwoven with pacifism, the struggle against fascism and the decline of Dutch Jewry, has largely been forgotten. More than other feminists, Rosa Manus suffered from the difficult position in which Jews were placed following the rise of fascism in Germany, when many women’s organizations were anxious to avoid being perceived as too Jewish. Carrie Chapman Catt, who regarded her as a pupil, assistant and adopted daughter, remembered her as one of the first to die for “the cause,” ignoring the fact that Rosa Manus had been arrested for her pacifist activities and deported as a Jew. And although her name appears on the memorial to those who died in Ravensbrück, there are several witnesses who testify to her having been taken, gravely ill, to Auschwitz.

Carry Van Bruggen

In the years before and after her second marriage she became a well-known writer, earning her living by lecturing and writing.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Selma Leydesdorff." (Viewed on July 17, 2019) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/author/leydesdorff-selma>.

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