World War II

Content type

Lawyers in Germany and Austria

German and Austrian women were first allowed to enter careers in law in the mid-1920s, following rules permitting their admittance to universities at the turn of the century. Although women were a small proportion of all lawyers, judges, and prosecutors in Germany and Austria, Jewish women were a significant group among those women, and they often faced both religious and gender-based discrimination.

Madeleine May Kunin

Madeline Kunin broke ground as the first woman governor of Vermont and the only woman to serve three terms as governor, before making history again as ambassador to Switzerland and facilitating compensation from Swiss banks to Holocaust survivors.

Matilda Steinam Kubie

Matilda Steinam Kubie directed her energies toward the support and growth of charitable institutions that sought to better the lives of those in the Jewish community. She helped many organizations extend their reach through her leadership and her savvy use of advertising.

Mariana Kroutoiarskaia

Mariana Kroutoiarskaia was a talented Russian composer and music producer who dedicated her entire life to music, film, and television. Kroutoiarskaia worked as a music editor for Russian television, a lecturer, and a composer for many films. She also supervised the arrangement and publication of music for children by various composers.

Rozka Korczak-Marla

Rozka Korczak-Marla was active in underground resistance during World War II, serving in the United Partisan Organization to smuggle weapons into the Vilna Ghetto and help Jews escape. After the war she immigrated to Palestine and settled into kibbutz life.

Rokhl Häring Korn

Rokhl Häring Korn is a major figure in modern Yiddish literature. She published eight volumes of poetry and two collections of fiction, much of which focused on themes of homelessness, the upheaval of war, and her experience during the Holocaust.

Gisela Peiper Konopka

Berlin-born Gisela Konopka built an international reputation as a group social worker and expert on youth issues. Lauded for her involvement in the rebuilding of social services and education in post-war Germany and beloved by her students at the University of Minnesota, Konopka received more than 42 awards in her lifetime.

Hedwig Kohn

Born in Breslau, Hedwig Kohn was one of the early woman pioneers in physics. After a narrow escape from Nazi Germany, she went on to teach at Wellesley College and pursue independent research at Duke University in the field of flame spectroscopy, measuring absorption features of atomic species in flames.

Sarah Kofman

Sarah Kofman was a French Jewish philosopher and professor who published many books on Freud, Nietzsche, Rousseau, and more.

Irene Caroline Diner Koenigsberger

A distinguished chemist credited with discovering the molecular structure of rubber, Irene Caroline Koenigsberger refused to patent her work, making her discovery available to all. She was also an important figure in the Washington, D.C. Jewish community, cofounding Temple Sinai and the B’nai B’rith Hillel at George Washington University.

Lia Koenig

Lia Koenig is known as the First Lady of Israeli Yiddish Theater for her complex roles in world drama. After immigrating to Israel from Poland in 1961 with her husband Zevi Stolper, she began her legendary career at the Habimah theater. Koenig was awarded the Israel Prize, the Israel Theater Prize, and the EMET Prize. 

Bronia Klibanski

Bronia (Bronka) Klibanski was one of the heroic Kashariyot (couriers) of the Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. She became the primary kasharit for the Dror Zionist group in 1943, obtaining critical weapons for the Bialystok ghetto revolt, gathering intelligence, rescuing other Jews, and saving the secret archive of the ghetto.

Reizia Cohen Klingberg

Reizia Cohen Klingberg began her career as a teacher, but when she began hearing reports of deportations and disappearances, she returned to occupied Krakow in 1942 and joined the ghetto’s underground movement. The group stole and smuggled weapons and attacked German officers. Despite being betrayed, arrested, and deported, Klingberg survived to be liberated by American soldiers at Auschwitz and subsequently moved to Palestine.

Chajka Klinger

Chajka Klinger, a member of Ha-Shomer ha-Za’ir, was active in the resistance against the Nazis in Bedzin and Warsaw. Her mission was to live, so that she could keep the flame and memory of resistance alive. Her diaries were the first written evidence about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising to escape Nazi Europe.

Ruth Klüger

A Holocaust survivor from Vienna (1931-2020), Ruth Klüger emigrated to the United States in 1947 and pursued a career in academia. Her German-language autobiography weiter leben: Eine Jugend (1992) revealed her personal experience of the Holocaust to the public, establishing her as one of the leading public intellectuals on the Holocaust in Austria and Germany.

Vitka Kempner-Kovner

Vita Kempner-Kovner was a heroic fighter on the front lines of the underground resistance to the Nazis.

Agnes Keleti

In 1944, when the Germans invaded Hungary, gymnast Agnes Keleti bought fake identification papers and carried the bodies of the dead to mass graves during the battle of Budapest. After the war, she returned to gymnastics; her career highlight was the 1956 Olympics, where 35-year-old Keleti won many medals, including four gold for uneven parallel bars, balance beam, floor exercise and combined exercise-team.

Lillian Kasindorf Kavey

Lillian Kasindorf Kavey was a banker, community activist, and advocate for Conservative Judaism and Ethiopian Jewry in the early twentieth century.

Kashariyot (Couriers) in the Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust

Kashariyot were young women who traveled on illegal missions for the Jewish resistance in German-occupied Eastern Europe during the Holocaust. They smuggled goods, news, and other Jews in and out of the ghettos of Poland, Lithuania, and parts of Russia. While those who fought the Germans within the ghettos are often most celebrated for their heroism, kashariyot were essential in the survival of Jews within ghettos.

Régine Karlin-Orfinger

Régine Karlin’s resistance activities would alone have warranted esteem and recognition, but she did not desist from further work. Totally bilingual in French and Dutch and even polyglot, since she was also proficient in both English and Russian, she had a brilliant career as a lawyer, characterized by her militant and unwavering support of causes that she considered just.

Ilona Karmel

Ilona Karmel transformed details of her experiences as a Polish-Jewish prisoner in Nazi work camps and as a patient undergoing a prolonged convalescence into two compelling and memorable novels. Karmel was a distinguished writer, winning a fiction contest from Mademoiselle and teaching awards from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Hannah Karminski

During the mid-1920s and the 1930s in Germany, Hannah Karminski served as secretary of the League of Jewish Women and, from 1924 to 1938, as editor of its newsletter. After the forced liquidation of the League in 1938, Karminski remained in Germany and continued her work in the Reich Association of Jews in Germany, assisting with the kindertransports and welfare. She was deported to Auschwitz and murdered in 1942.

Fay Kanin

Over a sixty-year career as a writer, actor, co-producer, and activist, Fay Kanin was awarded several Emmys and Peabodys, the ACLU Bill of Rights Award, the Crystal Award from Women in Film, the Burning Bush Award from the University of Judaism, and nominations for Oscar and Tony awards. She was the second female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Ida Kaminska

Ida Kaminska’s life adventures, extraordinary talent, astonishing vitality, and passionate devotion to theatrical art and the culture of the Nation of Yiddish make her one of the symbols of twentieth-century Polish Judaism. She was influenced by her mother, Esther Rachel, who was the founder of modern Yiddish theater and an influential actress.

Mascha Kaléko

Mascha Kaléko was a German-Jewish poet whose literary works have made her a mainstay of the German poetic cannon. She is best known for content, diction, rhythm, and Kalékoesque rhyme.


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