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Bess Myerson

When Bess Myerson encountered anti-Semitism as the first Jewish Miss America, she used her new-found fame to fight hatred through the Anti-Defamation League. Myerson stayed close to the Jewish tradition and people throughout her career, always presenting herself as a Jewish public figure.

Judy Holliday

A brilliant actress and comedian, Judy Holliday won an Academy Award for her performance as the not-so-dumb blonde in Born Yesterday and performed thousands of times on Broadway. Holliday epitomized the duality of her American-Jewish heritage, as she was a successful performer who was investigated for subversive activities in the McCarthy Era due to antisemitic suspicions. 

Anna Braude Heller

A brilliant pediatrician used to working in difficult circumstances, Anna Braude Heller struggled to keep children’s hospitals open through both World War I and World War II, even as the Nazis occupied Poland and placed Jews in ghettos. Although she evaded deportation in 1943, she was killed shortly afterwards when German soldiers raided the Warsaw Ghetto.

Bessie Abramowitz Hillman

Bessie Abramowitz devoted her life to unions, organizing her first strike at fifteen, announcing her engagement on a picket line, and continuing her efforts for workers’ rights until her death. She remained active in union activities until her death in New York City, on December 23, 1970, at age eighty-one.

Ruth Westheimer

Ruth Westheimer, who lost her entire family in the Holocaust, served in the Haganah, and received her Ed.D. from Columbia University, was an unlikely candidate for the role of host of a cheerful talk show about sex. However, her celebration of human sexuality, derived from Orthodox Judaism, has made her an influential and highly successful proponent of joyful, responsible sex from the 1980s into the third decade of the twenty-first century.

Charlotte Wardi

Charlotte Wardi (1928-2018) was one of the first significant scholars of the representation of the Jews and the Holocaust in French and other fiction. A young survivor of Auschwitz who grew up and was educated in France, she taught for three decades at the University of Haifa and continued to be active in her retirement.

Eva Szekely

Born in Budapest, Eva Szekely was forced to stop swimming during the Nazi occupation of Hungary. However, she returned to the sport after the war and went on to win thirty-two national individual swimming titles and eleven national team titles. At the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, she set a new Olympic record in the 200-meter breaststroke.

Bela Szapiro

Before World War II, Lublin was one of the largest Jewish communities in Poland. Bela Szapiro’s activities contributed to making it the vibrant cultural and political center of Polish Jewry that it was.

Margarete Susman

Margarete Susman published her first writings, a book of poetry, in 1901 and went on to have a prolific writing career that included plays, books, and journal articles. Susman combined literature and theory, often reflecting seminal texts of modern theory and addressing political issues and women’s rights. Her writings concentrate on the most problematic issues of the modern world: God and human beings, man and woman, Jew and Christian.

Suburbanization in the United States

Jews migrated in large numbers to newly constructed suburbs after World War II and the end of restrictive covenants that had excluded them. During the day, suburbs were largely female spaces where married Jewish women cared for their children and private homes, while volunteering for Jewish and civic activities. Jewish daughters raised in suburbs enjoyed middle-class comforts but also experienced pressures to conform to American gentile ideals of beauty.

Grete Stern

Grete Stern was one of the founders of Argentina’s modern photography. After studying photography in bohemian Berlin and at the legendary Bauhaus School, Stern developed an unconventional approach to photography, including advertisement collages and studies with crystals, objects, and still-lifes. Between 1935 and 1981 Stern was an influential artistic presence in Argentina, known for her photographic work, graphic design, and teaching.  

Sports in Germany: 1898-1938

Women’s participation in Jewish gymnastics clubs increased significantly during the first two decades of the twentieth century. The Jewish sports movement grew during the 1920s, allowing women to participate in cross-country running, swimming, and tennis. After German sports clubs annulled Jewish membership in 1933, women poured into these Jewish sports groups.

Ottilie Schönewald

Deeply involved in several women’s and Jewish organizations, Ottilie Schönewald was an activist who became a politician to advance her causes. She worked with the League of Jewish Women and helped Jews emigrate from Nazi Germany. After Schönewald and her family fled in 1939, she continued her social work during and after the war.

Eva Schocken

As the daughter of Salman Schocken, founder of Schocken Books, and later as editor and president, Eva Schocken pushed the publishing company to the forefront of both education and women’s studies.

Alice Schalek

Alice Schalek first entered the public sphere at the turn of the century as the author of a well-received novel, published under the male pseudonym Paul Michaely. The first woman in Austria to become a career photojournalist and travel writer, and the first and only female member of the Austrian Kriegspressedienst (war information unit) during World War I, Schalek paved the way for careers in both photography and journalism for other women.

Charlotte Salomon

Charlotte Salomon was an artist who created work depicting her family narrative before many of her family members died in the Holocaust. Her work was found after the war by relatives and donated to the Jewish Historical Museum there in Amsterdam. Salomon held great graphic power and recorded history and truth in her art.

Else Rahel Samulon-Guttmann

Else Samulon-Guttmann showed her exceptional intelligence early in life, studying law at Berlin university and earning a PhD from Heidelberg University. Appointed a judge in 1929, she lost her position with the Nazi rise to power in 1933. Samulon-Guttmann stayed in Germany for her mother and was murdered at Auschwitz in 1944.

Bernice Rubens

One of Britain’s most successful post-World War II authors, Bernice Rubens was born in Cardiff, Wales, in 1928. In 1970, she became the first woman recipient of the Booker Prize for her novel The Elected Member.

Romanian Yiddish Theater

Romania was a wellspring of the Yiddish theater, as there were Jewish theater troupes in the major Romanian cities and acting troupes traveled throughout the country performing dramas, comedies, musicals, and operettas. Women played a significant role in performing and shaping Romanian Yiddish theater and became known internationally for their work on the Yiddish stage.

Romania, Women and Jewish Education

Since the adoption of a public school system in the mid-1800s in Romania, Jewish women in Romania women have had to fight anti-Semitism and sexism to pursue their education.

Elise Richter

Elise Richter could not pursue a university degree until she was in her 30s, when she became part of the first group of women to study at the University of Vienna. She received doctoral and post-doctoral degrees and subsequently taught classes on various Romance languages while publishing extensively, making important contributions to the field of historical and comparative linguistics.

Eva Gabriele Reichmann

Born in Silesia, Eva Gabriele Reichmann studied economics in Germany and, after fleeing the Nazis, in London. A prolific writer, especially after her retirement in 1959, Reichmann focused mainly on Judaism and the social history of German Jewry. She was awarded several medals for her contributions to democracy, freedom, and tolerance and died at the age of 101.

Ana Pauker

Born to an impoverished Orthodox family in Bucharest, Ana Pauker joined the Romanian communist movement in 1915. She rose through the ranks, becoming one of the most powerful Communist leaders in Romania after World War II and, according to Time magazine, “the most powerful woman alive.”

Modern Netherlands

Like Jewish women everywhere, Dutch Jewish women struggled with issues of assimilation, emancipation, and equality as both Jews and women. This article summarizes the conditions and challenges facing Jewish women in the Netherlands and the paths to progress and change they sought—education, work, activism, and literature, among others—from the nineteenth century to the present, including after the particular decimation of Dutch Jewry during the Holocaust.

Doña Gracia Nasi

Doña Gracia Nasi was the embodiment of passionate solidarity among exiles. As a young woman she inherited her husband’s fortune, and fled from Lisbon to Venice to Ferrara, where her family lived openly as Jews for the first time. In Constantinople, she assumed a role of leadership in the Sephardi world of the Ottoman Empire.


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