Holocaust

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Hantze Plotniczki

When she was fourteen, her brother Eliyahu brought her into the Freiheit movement on the eve of his immigration to Palestine in 1932. Although Plotniczki was well-versed in Polish literature and culture and spoke only a broken Yiddish peppered with Polish phrases, she nonetheless found a way to connect with the members and integrate into the movement.

Poetry in the United States

The contributions of Jewish women poets to American literary history and political activism, as well as to the enrichment of Jewish culture and practice, are astounding.

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."

Rivkah Perelis

As a historian, Perelis strove for moral principles, accuracy and the utmost openness, without sacrificing the personal emotional motivation behind her work. She struggled with the inevitable dilemma of every historian when dealing with the Holocaust—the dichotomy between the sense of personal-emotional commitment and the professional obligation to maximum objectivity—and learned to live within this contradictory space.

Erna Patak

Erna (Ernestine) Patak was a social worker and one of the Zionist veterans in Vienna in the early twentieth century.

Ruth Peggy Sophie Parnass

Peggy Parnass is a Jew, a woman, a German born in Hamburg and raised in Sweden, an author, a journalist, an actress and, last but not least, a feminist.

Dalia Ofer

A noted historian of contemporary Jewry, with a research specialization in Holocaust studies, Dalia Ofer was born in Jerusalem on January 8, 1939.

Nelly Neumann

Nelly Neumann, who worked in synthetic geometry, was among the first women to obtain doctorates in mathematics at a German university.

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.

Irene Nemirovsky

The story of Irene Nemirovsky’s life is as complex, captivating and heartbreaking as any of her numerous novels, yet this story would have remained hidden from history if not for a controversial and unprecedented panel decision that rocked the French literary establishment in November 2004.

Regina Mundlak

Looking at the reproductions, one might conclude that Regina Mundlak was interested in nothing but Jewish life in the Diaspora. Her passion in presenting Jewish merchants, craftsmen, women, children, men, hasidim, and old people studying Talmud is almost documentary.

Marga Minco

The outstanding features of the writings of Dutch author Marga Minco, who lives and works in Amsterdam, are an economical use of words and an all out effort to convey the experiences of the Holocaust.

Hélène Metzger

Hélène Metzger was a French historian of chemistry and philosopher of science, whose work has remained influential to this day.

Jacqueline Mesnil-Amar

Few testimonies to the plight of French Jews during and after World War II are as moving and as eloquent as those of Jacqueline Mesnil-Amar. Few writers describe so wrenchingly the drastic psychological and material schism that resulted from the Vichy government’s abandonment of its Jewish population during the Holocaust.

Lilli Marx

When Lilli Marx returned to Germany in the autumn of 1946, she threw herself energetically into the task of rebuilding Jewish life in the country. She was particularly involved with the Jüdischer Frauenbund (the League of Jewish Women, or JFB), which she re-established together with Jeanette Wolff (1888–1976), Ruth Galinski (b. 1921), Inge Marcus (b. 1922) and others.

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.

Zivia Lubetkin

Zivia Lubetkin was born on November 9, 1914 to a well-to-do, traditional Jewish family in the town of Beten in eastern Poland, where in 1880 her father, Ya’akov-Yizhak, who ran a small business, had also been born. Her mother, Hayyah (née Zilberman), was born in 1882 in Useten. During the Holocaust Zivia’s parents went into hiding but were discovered in 1942 and shot on the spot.

Johanna Löwenherz

Even today it is difficult to reconstruct Johanna Löwenherz’s biography in full. She was born on March 12, 1857 in Rheinbrohl and according to her biographer, Wolfgang Dietz, was “the daughter of a well-to-do Jewish family and brought up in the Jewish faith” (Dietz 1989, 31). Her father, Hermann Löwenherz (1811–1897), was a businessman who owned a quarry. Her mother was Fanni, née Jacobsohn (1826–1902). Little is known about her education, though Cornelia Kunze claims that she studied piano and singing at the Conservatory in Stuttgart and was able to teach Esperanto. Although by upbringing she was closest to the middle-class women’s movement, she switched to the socialist women’s movement, on whose behalf she traveled widely in order to raise consciousness. According to Dietz, this change in her political allegiance led her to abandon Judaism. She was one of the most active representatives of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the Neuwied region and co-founder of the local Volksbildungsverein (Association for Popular Education). Although her political opinions made her a somewhat controversial figure in the SDP, she was nevertheless elected as a delegate to the regional party conferences in Duisburg (1895), Essen (1897) and Neuweid (1897).

Marceline Loridan-Ivens

Marceline Loridan-Ivens is known around the world for the superb documentaries that she codirected with her husband, the Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens (1898–1989). But the earliest part of her career, as well as her most recent work, depart from the documentaries by providing very personal, profoundly moving reflections on her identity as a Jewish woman, and it is her latest film, A Birch Tree Meadow/La petite prairie aux bouleaux (2003), that both established her as a significant voice in Jewish cinema and inaugurated (at age 75!) a new career as a feature film maker.

Hildegard Löwy

Born in 1922, Hildegard Löwy was the youngest member of the Baum Gruppe, a mainly Jewish resistance group against the Nazi regime in Berlin. She belonged to the sub-group of Heinz Joachim, which operated jointly with Herbert Baum’s group.

Deborah Lipstadt

“Unzere Devora,” our Deborah, “you do not know what you did for us,” murmured a Holocaust survivor before Yom ha-Sho’ah observances in the U.S. Capitol in April 2000. The comment stunned Deborah E. Lipstadt. An historian of American Jews, she had not sought the grueling libel trial that transformed her into a public personality. But she proved in a British court the historical truth of Hitler’s genocidal murder of six million European Jews during World War II to justify her characterization of David Irving as a Holocaust denier.

Rivka Kuper Liebeskind

Rivka Spiner, nicknamed Vuschka, was born on June 15, 1920 in Rzeszów, Poland, to a middle-class religious Zionist family. Her father, Hayyim Spiner (1890–1943), was active in Ha-Po’el ha-Mizrachi, as was her mother, Hadassah (1890–1943). She also had a younger brother, Menahem (1923–1943).

Lia Levi

Lia Levi was born in Pisa on November 9, 1931 to a Jewish family of Piedmontese origins. Her father, Alessandro (1901–1973), who was born in Brescia, was an attorney at law. Her mother, Leontina Segre (1906–1984), was born in Turin and had a degree in law. They married in 1931. After the promulgation of the fascist racial laws in 1938 and the beginning of antisemitic persecutions, Lia Levi’s family left Northern Italy and found refuge in Rome. After the end of World War II Levi remained in Rome, where she completed her studies in philosophy and became a successful journalist. For more than thirty years she has directed the Jewish monthly Shalom.

Nora Levin

In the introduction to her 1977 book While Messiah Tarried, a history of Jewish socialist movements, Nora Levin wrote that she hoped “young Jews groping for ways to reconcile their own social radicalism with Jewishness ... will be heartened in their quest by the knowledge that there have been several generations of other young Jews who have made a similar struggle.”

Gerda Lerner

Entering the field of United States history with a freshly minted Ph.D. in 1966, Gerda Lerner blazed a new professional path that led to the establishment of the field of women’s history. The force of her personality and her commitment to the possibilities contained in the historical study of women made her impervious to the ridicule with which the male-dominated historical profession initially responded to the notion of women’s history.

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