1st Edition

Heroines of the Holocaust Reframing Resistance and Courage in Genocide

    320 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book brings together international scholars to examine and share new approaches in the history of women’s rescue and resistance during the Holocaust and the Armenian and Rwandan genocide.

    The activities of women during the Holocaust have often been forgotten, erased, misunderstood, or intentionally distorted. Jewish women and those of all faiths fought with dignity, compassion, and courage to save others from the murderous Nazi regime in many nations. Women played essential roles operating educational, cultural, humanitarian and armed resistance initiatives, thereby preserving social customs, religious traditions, lives and histories in defiance of oppression in the Holocaust and other genocides. There remain many untold, heroic stories of women challenging the Nazis with pen, pistol or sabotage.
    With contributions from a collection of authors, some of whom are descendants of resistance leaders, the chapters focus on different kinds of activities which are considered as forms of resistance or Amidah: strengthening solidarity among themselves, creating open, but hidden spaces for cultural life, promoting religious or political activities, acting as leaders in networks of defiance and transferring important information within the camp or to the outer world, among others. Discussing the efforts to respond with humanity to the inhumanity that these women confronted, this volume will open up avenues of inquiry that are critical in the face of rising antisemitism and authoritarian movements that threaten democracy and mutual respect.

    This volume will be of value to scholars and students interested in Second World War History, Women’s and Gender History, Jewish Studies, and the history of the Holocaust.

    Part 1: Identifying Gendered Courage


    1. Holocaust Heroines: Definitions and Dilemmas

    Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz


    2. Feminine Leadership and Dual Leadership in the Jewish Resistance Organizations in Poland - Avihu Ronen and Dafna Itzkovich


    3.  The Leadership Lessons of Zivia Lubetkin

    Lori R. Weintrob


    Part 2: Resistance by Women in Nazi Germany


    4.  Defiance and Protest of Jewish Women in Nazi Germany

    Wolf Gruner


    5. Everyday Routines as a Special Form of Female Resistance


    Elisabeth Pönisch


    6.  Maria Leitner’s Undercover Reporting and Research on German National Socialism

    Sabine Kalff



    Part 3: Professional Women: Rethinking Survival Skills in the Holocaust



    7.  Hélène Cazès Benatar in Morocco During World War II

    Michal Ben Ya'akov


    8. Professions of Life: Social Welfare Professionals as Rescuers During the Holocaust

    Katy Matello


    9. Hadassah Bimko (Rosensaft) at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen- Belsen

    Menachem Z. Rosensaft


    Part 4: Women’s Voices in the Ghettos, Camps and in the Partisans


    10. Why We Need Heroines: Reflections on My Mother, Vladka Meed

    Steven Meed


    11. Rikle Glezer: Poet Partisan of Vilna

    Jay Saper and Corbin Allardice


    12. Auschwitz, October 1943: A Woman Hero Without a Name

    Bożena Karwowska


    13. Greek Women as Resisters and Rescuers in the Holocaust

    Yitzchak Kerem


    14. Heroines of the Forest: Jewish Women in Partisan Units in Lithuania and Belarus

    Daniela Ozacky Stern


    15. Remembering Three Ravensbrück Heroes


    Rochelle G. Saidel



    Part 5: Comparative Frameworks: The Armenian Genocide, the Porajmos and the Genocide of the Tutsis


    16. Women Resisters to the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Syria

    Khatchig Mouradian


    17. Spaces of Resistance of Sinti and Romani Women during the Nazi Persecution

    Verena Meier


    18. The Role of Ukrainian Women in Rescuing Jews during the Holocaust in Ukraine

    Hanna Abukanova


    19. Women Rescuers in the 1994 Genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda

    Jennie E. Burnet 


    Part 6: After the Holocaust: Remembering Women’s Activism


    20. Zivia Lubetkin; Her Public Story, Her Private Story

    Sharon Geva


    21. Thea Altaras: Reclaiming Jewish Identity after the Resistance

    Anita Lukic


    22. Afterword: On Audacity

    Judy Batalion


    Prof. Judy Tydor Baumel-Schwartz is the Director of the Finkler Institute of Holocaust Research, the Abraham and Edita Spiegel Family Professor in Holocaust Research, the Rabbi Pynchas Brener Professor in Research on the Holocaust of European Jewry, and Professor in the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

     Prof. Lori R. Weintrob is the Founding Director of the Wagner College Holocaust Center and Professor in the History department of Wagner College, Staten Island, New York.