Holocaust

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Käthe Leichter

Käthe Leichter was undoubtedly the foremost socialist feminist in “Red Vienna” during the interwar years. A Social Democratic politician, labor organizer and author, with a doctorate in political economy, she directed women’s affairs for the Viennese Chamber of Workers (Arbeiterkammer). In May 1938, before she had a chance to escape from Austria, Käthe Leichter was arrested by the Gestapo for illegal socialist activities; she was never released from imprisonment.

Anna Langfus

Anna Langfus’s novels all deal with the experience of war, destruction and loss after the Holocaust, weaving autobiographical material with fiction. Le Sel et le Soufre (Salt and Suffering, Prix Charles Veillon, 1960) retraces the war years in Poland, the destruction of the Lublin ghetto and the eradication of the protagonists’ comfortable middle-class family. The Jewish community’s early denials of impending doom, the German atrocities, as well as the participation of Jewish officials in the deportation of their own community are all narrated by Maria, an overprotected young woman, who early on flees into her own forms of denial: sleep, dreams, illness and reckless roamings in the city’s streets.

Pearl Lang

In Pearl Lang’s socialist, working-class family, music, theater, and poetry were integral to the daily routine. Her father played piano, her mother wrote poetry, and both actively participated in Chicago’s Jewish cultural societies. Yiddish was the first language in the household. Pearl would be powerfully influenced not only by her family’s Jewish heritage but also by the cultural riches of Chicago. She learned English with her mother at night school and at Hibbard Elementary School, which offered classes integrating art, literature, history, and geography. Not surprisingly, her own interest in artistic activities began early.

Madeleine May Kunin

The specifics of Madeleine May Kunin’s life, as she herself states in her autobiography, Living a Political Life (1994), hardly suggest a typical governor of Vermont: “As a feminist, an immigrant, and a Jew, I was perhaps too different from the average Vermont voter, yet it was this identity that inspired me to enter public life and shaped my values.”

Ilona Kronstein

Ilona (Ili) was born in Budapest, the eldest of three daughters of Sigmund (Zsiga) Neumann and Emma, née Deutsch. Though she had shown an artistic talent from childhood on, her early work was ridiculed and discouraged by her father.

Pati Kremer

Pati Kremer, née Matla Srednicki, was one of the legendary pioneers of the Jewish workers’ movement in Eastern Europe. Already in the 1890s an active member of the so-called Vilna Group, the precursor to the Bund, she remained closely associated with the Jewish workers’ party until her death in the Vilna Ghetto.

Hanna Krall

Hanna Krall was born on May 20, 1937 in Warsaw into an assimilated Jewish family. Her parents and other relatives perished in the Majdanek concentration and death camp, while she survived with the help of some Poles, moving between the village of Krasnogliny, Warsaw, Ryki, the Albertine cloister in Zyczyn and other places.

Lonka Korzybrodska

Lonka Korzybrodska was born in the town of Pruszków, near Warsaw. The influence which her father Avraham, a teacher, exerted on the young people of the town is evidenced by the fact that most of his students joined pioneer youth movements.

Rokhl Häring Korn

Rokhl Häring Korn is a major figure in modern Yiddish literature. Her early work established her reputation as a brilliant narrative writer in verse and prose and a passionate lyric poet. In her later work she developed into a poet of complex, sustained meditation, with a remarkable ability to turn her life into symbol. In the course of her writing career she published eight volumes of poetry and two collections of fiction.

Rozka Korczak-Marla

“We did not have the privilege of choosing between converting to Christianity and sacrificing ourselves to sanctify the name of God—in this we differed from our ancestors. … We did have a choice of the manner in which to live to the very end as free Jews and die as liberated people.” Thus, in 1982, Korczak-Marla referred to the choice made by members of Halutz movements in the Vilna Ghetto.

Gisela Peiper Konopka

Gisela Konopka’s outstanding career in youth and adolescent services, social work, education and history is reflected in her litany: “All my life I have been fighting for justice, and for respect for all people. I abhor any arrogance related to race, religion, nationality, appearance, sex, age, intelligence, profession, money. That arrogance is wrong. What is important is what a person is, and does, for the community.”

Hedwig Kohn

Prior to World War II, only three women achieved the German qualification for teaching at a university, the Habilitation in the field of physics: Lise Meitner, Hertha Sponer, and Hedwig Kohn. All three ultimately fled Nazi Germany.

Gertrud Kolmar

In a letter of July 1941, Gertrud Kolmar writes to her sister Hilde: “I am a poet, yes, that much I know; but I never want to be a writer.” The German-Jewish author considered poetry a more spiritual and superior form of writing that allowed for a revelation of spiritual beliefs and personal growth.

Malka Kolodny

Malka Kolodny (née Fisz), one of the earliest educators in pre-State Palestine, was born in Horodziec (Horodyszcze), in the Volhynia district of Poland, on June 17, 1910, the youngest of eight children of an Orthodox Jewish family.

Sarah Kofman

The Holocaust, the study of philosophy and the undergoing of analysis—all three profoundly marked the course of Sarah Kofman’s life and are what link the texts that she authored. Thus one cannot adequately summarize Kofman’s texts and intellectual positions without invoking her biography. Yet she repeatedly denied that her autobiography could be found anywhere other than in her most impressive bibliography.

Gerda Weissmann Klein

Miraculously, Gerda Weissmann Klein survived the ghetto, deportation, slave-labor camps, and the infamous three-month death march from the Polish-German border to southern Czechoslovakia. As the sole survivor of her family, she has provided the world a glimpse of her ordeal through her written and oral testimonies.

Traute Kleinova

Traute Kleinova was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia on August 13, 1918. From early childhood she had to help her widowed mother make a living by delivering milk in her neighborhood. The boys of her class used to accompany her on her chores so that she could finish her rounds earlier in order to be able to participate in the activities of the local Jewish athletic club. She could outrun most of the boys and she beat all of them in table tennis.

Bronia Klibanski

Bronia (Bronka) Klibanski is well known as one of the heroic Kashariyot (couriers) of the Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. She worked with Mordechai Tenenbaum, the leader of the Jewish resistance in the Bialystok ghetto, becoming the primary kasharit for the Dror Zionist group in 1943. She obtained critical weapons for the ghetto revolt, gathered intelligence, rescued other Jews and saved the secret archive of the Bialystok ghetto.

Reizia Cohen Klingberg

Reizia Cohen Klingberg (alias Maria Kalina) was born on August 8, 1920, to Chava (1892–1943) and Menahem Mendel Klingberg (1890–1944), a member of a well-known hasidic family in Craców. She was the granddaughter of Rabbi Shem Klingberg (1873–1943). Her father, the chairman of Po’alei Agudat Israel, encouraged her to learn English and German.

Chajka Klinger

“The avant-garde must die where its people are dying.” Chajka Klinger repeated this dictum several times in her diaries. For her it was the ultimate motive for the ghetto uprising.

Ruth Klüger

On the occasion of Ruth Klüger’s seventieth birthday, Germany’s leading literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki congratulated the acclaimed author with a tribute published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in which he praised her work as a writer and as a scholar in the field of German literature. Reich-Ranicki noted Klüger’s distinguishing characteristics by summarizing that “she is an Austrian Jew, an American professor, a German writer, and one of the most brilliant Germanists in the world.”

Ruth Kisch-Arendt

Ruth Kisch-Arendt, an Orthodox Jew who celebrated the musical and cultural traditions of German lieder, performed the songs of Schubert, Mendelssohn, Liszt, and Wagner before small-town German Jewish audiences during some of the most violent outbreaks of antisemitism in the 1930s. These performances stand as a poignant and ironic reminder of the inhumanity of the Holocaust.

Vitka Kempner-Kovner

Vitka Kempner was born on March 14, 1920 in the county-town of Kalisz (Kalisch), western Poland, one-third of whose population was Jewish. Her parents, Hayyah and Zevi, ran a retail business. Her large tribe of grandparents, uncles and cousins were liberal both in outlook and in lifestyle.

Agnes Keleti

Born on January 9, 1921 in Budapest, Hungary, Agnes Keleti is the most successful Jewish female athlete in Olympic history. With ten Olympic medals from three Olympic Games, she stands third all-time among women for the most Olympic medals and fourth all-time as an Olympic gold medal winner.

Kashariyot (Couriers) in the Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust

The kashariyot were young women who traveled on illegal missions for the Jewish resistance in German-occupied Eastern Europe during the Holocaust. Using false papers to conceal their Jewish identities, they smuggled secret documents, weapons, underground newspapers, money, medical supplies, news of German activities, forged identity cards, ammunition—and other Jews—in and out of the ghettos of Poland, Lithuania and parts of Russia.

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