Holocaust

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Collection

Ida Fink

At a time when Holocaust narratives were expected to be epic tragedies, Ida Landau Fink’s fiction remembered and reimagined the Holocaust with unusual subtlety.

Recha Freier

Recha Schweitzer Freier founded Youth Aliyah in Berlin in 1932, saving thousands of Jews from the Holocaust.
Simone Veil

Women’s Rights are Human Rights

by Hannah Himmelgreen

If anyone has an indelible sparkle, it’s women’s rights activist and French politician Simone Veil. Although she’s not a household name in the United States, she’s regarded with unwavering praise and awe in France, her home country. 

Doris Zelinsky

While Doris Zelinsky has spent her professional career in the food industry, the work closest to her heart has been preserving the memory of the Holocaust.

Yedida Kanfer

Yedida Kanfer serves as the Coordinator of Education Services at the JFCS Holocaust Center, where she teaches high school students, educators, and the larger community about the Holocaust and patterns of genocide.  She also manages the Tauber Holocaust Library.  Prior to her position at the JFCS Holocaust Center, Yedida served as a research scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and worked for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC.  Yedida received her PhD in East European and Jewish history from Yale University in 2011; she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship (Russia) and a Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Doctoral Fellowship.  Having studied Russian, Polish, Hebrew, and German languages for research purposes, her favorite language is Yiddish, which she reads and speaks fluently.

Golda Ginsburg Krolik

Golda Ginsburg Krolik fought to improve human rights thoughout the twentieth century, from helping the poor to rescuing Holocaust survivors to offering equal opportunities to African Americans.

Emma Lazaroff Schaver

Opera singer Emma Lazaroff Schaver was profoundly affected by giving concerts to Holocaust survivors in displaced persons camps, an experience that shaped the rest of her life.
Elie Wiesel

Lessons from Elie Wiesel

by Dr. Sima Goel

Although I never met him in person, I felt Elie Wiesel was the voice of my own suffering and sorrow; I, too, had fled a repressive regime, leaving home and family behind. I saw in him the possibility of taking my misery and translating it into a hopeful future where humanity could work together and embrace the common good.

Topics: Holocaust, Memoirs

Walking in the Footsteps of Regina Jonas

by Gail Reimer

Walking out the door of my hotel room on the first day of my first trip to Berlin, (a trip I had determinedly avoided for many years), I was on guard and immediately caught off guard. As I entered the Hackescher Market just steps from the hotel, I found myself face to face with a large size portrait of Regina Jonas on a kiosk that also detailed her story. What was Rabbiner Jonas doing here? Why here? Why now?

Remembering Rabbi Regina Jonas

by Rabbi Sally J. Priesand

I decided I wanted to be a rabbi when I was sixteen years old. At that time, I had never heard of Regina Jonas. I was well into my rabbinic training before one of my professors mentioned her to me. He knew her personally, having attended the same academic institution in Germany. I discovered, however, that very little had been written about her and that basically her story had been lost, as was the case for so many other women in the Jewish community whose stories were hidden away.

"We Who Are Her Successors": Honoring Rabbi Regina Jonas

by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

Our knowledge about Rabbi Regina Jonas has been limited. I had heard that she was ordained in Berlin, her thesis was on whether women could be rabbis, and that she had died during the Holocaust. I was intrigued, but there was not much more information to fill in the blank spaces. This trip has opened up a wealth of material about her life, her vision and her contributions.

The "Lost" Story of Regina Jonas

by Karla Goldman

A major theme of our shared JWA/AJA journey is the recovery of the lost narrative of Regina Jonas. We are here in the company of America’s pioneering women rabbis to bring Fraulein Rabbiner Jonas back into the story we tell of them and those who followed.

German Leaders Speak Out Against Anti-Semitism

by Gail Reimer

Just days before leading German newspapers called for an end to hatred against Jews, our group heard from two German dignitaries who were deeply concerned about the new wave of anti-Semitism infusing protests against Israel’s operations in Gaza. Both MP Volker Beck and Sybilla Bendig of the Foreign Office were clearly shocked by slogans and chants they didn’t think possible in postwar Germany.

Coverage from Around the Web

October of 2014 marked the 70th anniversary of the death of Regina Jonas, the first woman ever ordained as a rabbi. But after her death in Auschwitz, Jonas was forgotten, unmentioned, and it was only after the fall of the Berlin Wall that her papers—and her story—came to light again.

Honoring the Real First Woman Rabbi

by Rabbi Amy Eilberg

Rabbi Regina Jonas’s story had been written out of history twice—once because the Nazis robbed her of life and again because the post-war Jewish community was unready to celebrate her story.

Connecting Across the Divide

by Gail Reimer

The pioneering American women rabbis who were the first to be ordained by their denominations joined with their counterparts in Europe in a public forum to talk about their journeys to the rabbinate and experiences as rabbis. Or that was the plan.

Visiting the Regina Jonas Archive at the Centrum Judaicum

by Gail Reimer

As we began our trip, some participants focused on Regina Jonas—honoring her, standing on her shoulders. Others spoke more generally about women, noting their interest in the "place of women in different worlds," or "a passion for women." And they came to the day with varied emotions—anticipation, anxiety, optimism, seeking “internal reconciliation” and hoping to “find themselves” here.

Building a Memory

by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

We stared at a photograph of Regina Jonas, the sole image that remained. In the formal portrait, she wore a rabbinic robe and her young face was dignified and serious. I yearned for photographs of her teaching, laughing, and loving, images of a full life. But there were none.

Confronting Germany

by Rabbi Amy Eilberg

I have never been to Germany before, and this is no accident. But over the decades, I had come to be in relationship with young Germans who were profoundly remorseful about the Holocaust. I was ready to explore a new personal relationship with the German people, and to travel there when the right opportunity presented itself. This trip is that opportunity.

Before the Plane Trip, A Personal Journey

by Judith Kates

For many years, I resisted going to Germany or Eastern Europe, but when I learned about this trip to Berlin and Prague, I spoke without thinking: “I’d really like to go on that journey.”

Judy Batalion

An Interview with "White Walls" Author Judy Batalion

by Bella Book

A scholar, writer, and comedian, Judy Batalion has a knack for finding the humor in family. As the daughter and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Batalion grew up in Montreal with her parents, a younger brother, and a house that was overflowing and chaotic with the results of her mother’s aggressive collecting. With insight and kindness, Batalion's book traces her messy origins, the complicated relationship between being a daughter and mother, and how to live with humor and authenticity in the world, and within our families. We were lucky enough to discuss the release of White Walls with Judy during her ongoing tour.

Performance of Elizabeth Swados' "Sosua" at the United Nations General Assembly

Dare to Dance Together: 1940, 2011, and Today

by Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Tony nominated playwright Elizabeth Swados raised our consciousness; she opened our eyes and dared us all to dance. Swados gave much to the world: theater, the gift of herself, one who constantly seeks truth and justice, and a strong female leader. Liz Swados also impacted my life in a very personal way- she taught me the meaning of community. 

Topics: Holocaust, Dance, Theater
Kasia, Katka, Maria, and Tusia in "The Return"

The Return: A Filmmaker Discovers Modern Jewish Poland

by Adam Zucker

How did I end up spending four years traveling across three continents to track the lives of four young Polish women as they explored their newfound Jewish roots?

Topics: Holocaust, Film

Rosa Eskenazi

Noted singer Roza Eskenazi enjoyed a second flowering of her career when Greek youth began a revival of traditional music in the 1970s.
"Lotte Lenya" and Delaney Hoffman's Photo

Bravery In Negatives And Movement: Lotte Jacobi

by Delaney Hoffman

Art as a form of healing. Art as a form of escape. Art as a form of human connection, or livelihood, or emotional fulfillment. Art as everything that you need it to be. 

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