ג'נינה הוסיאסון לינדנבאום
Janina Hossiason Lindenbaum
Photo: Yad Vashem
Janina Hossiason Lindenbaum

Five remarkable Jewish women who did not survive the Holocaust

Although these women did not live to pass on their story, on Holocaust Remembrance Day Israelis must do it for them; scholars, rebels, feminists, and all-around talented individuals - these women left behind remarkable tales in their memory

Korin Elbaz-Alush |
Published: 04.27.22, 23:39
An economist, a philosopher, and a psychologist: those are just a few of the millions of Jewish women whose success stories were cut short due to the horrors of the Holocaust.
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  • "To forget the dead would be like to kill them for a second time," says Holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    ג'נינה הוסיאסון לינדנבאום
    ג'נינה הוסיאסון לינדנבאום
    Janina Hossiason Lindenbaum
    (Photo: Yad Vashem)
    In the framework of its traditional project of lighting memorial candles for the fallen Jews, the non-profit organization "Our 6 Million" offers virtual access to information on victims of the Holocaust, and amongst them are several women who left behind remarkable stories.

    The philosophy scholar that never made it to Harvard

    Janina Hossiason Lindenbaum was a Polish linguist and philosopher. She published around 20 research projects and translated the books of British philosopher Bertrand Russell to Polish.
    Lindenbaum's main focus in her field was on probability, induction, and approval. By the late 1920's, she was a respected philosopher in her field, and pursued her studies at the University of Cambridge through a scholarship she received from the Polish education minister. Janina was set to present her research in Harvard, but unfortunately did not receive a visa to enter America.
    When Nazi Germany invaded Poland, she and her husband attempted to escape by foot. The two had to separate due to the circumstances, and planned to reunite when the air cleared. Janina's husband, while trying to escape, was shot to death by German soldiers. Janina was imprisoned in a detention center for seven months, after which she was shot dead by the Gestapo at age 43.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    גולדה בנצ'יק
    גולדה בנצ'יק
    Golda "Olga" Bencic
    (Photo: Yad Vashem)

    The fearless freedom fighter

    Golda "Olga" Bencic was the first communist of Jewish origin who fought in the resistance movement against the Nazis. She was born in Chisinau, what would later be annexed by Romania. Ever since her childhood she was a rebel with a cause. When she was only 12 years old, Golda was arrested for the first time after participating in a workers' strike. She continued to devote herself to the labor movements and participate in strikes and protests.
    Golda married the famous Romanian poet Alexandru Jar, also a communist activist. In 1933, she was arrested amid an anti-fascism protest and sentenced a few months in jail. In 1938, Golda and her husband ventured to France for the sake of humanitarian activism, where they provided aid to refugees belonging to the Republican faction of the civil war in Spain. One year later, the couple brought their daughter Dolores to the world.
    Following Nazi Germany's occupation of France, Golda joined the resistance movement near Paris and took up the job of making bombs and transporting explosives and weaponry.
    In November 1942, 23 of the resistance group's activists were arrested by the Gestapo, amongst them was Golda. After a quick trial, it was decided they would be executed. However, because Golda was the only woman in the group and putting women to death in France was prohibited. She was instead handed over to Nazi officials. She was tried again in Germany, where she received a death sentence.
    While awaiting her death, she wrote a letter to her daughter. On her 32nd birthday at 5am, Golda "Olga" Bencic was executed by guillotine.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    סבינה שפילריין
    סבינה שפילריין
    Sabina Spielrein
    (Photo: Yad Vashem)

    A founder mother of psychoanalysis

    Sabina Spielrein was a Russian physician and one of the first female psychoanalysts. She came from a family that had prioritized education - her mother was of the first women to study dentistry, her brother Yan was a mathematician, her other brother Itzhak was a psychologist, and her third brother Emil was a biologist. All three of her brothers were executed in the Gulag, a system of Soviet labor camps.
    Spielrein herself was diagnosed with behavioral problems and mental disorders at a young age. She suffered from panic attacks, which led to her being treated by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and founder of psychoanalysis.
    He later became her mentor and the two were said to have had romantic relations. Through their complicated relationship, the concept anima was born, defined as the unconscious feminine side of a man.
    Her academic works led her to have a collegial relationship with Sigmund Freud, whom she met with on a number of occasions.
    In 1912, Spielrein married a Russian-Jewish doctor and the couple had two daughters.
    Spielrein and her daughters survived the first German invasion of Rostov-on-Don in November 1941, which was repelled by the Red Army. However, in July 1942, the German army reoccupied the city.
    Spielrein, 57, and her two daughters, aged 29 and 16, were murdered by an SS death squad, together with 27,000 mostly Jewish victims.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    מריאן קתרינה קייט לייכטר
    מריאן קתרינה קייט לייכטר
    Marianne Katrina Leichter
    (Photo: Yad Vashem)

    A preacher of equal pay for women

    Marianne Katrina Leichter was an Austrian-Jewish economist, women's rights activists, journalist, and politician. She was known as a feminist, and published dozens of articles and reports based on statistical data on women in Austria. She also taught courses in schools, lectured, and spoke for women's rights on radio channels. Leichter was the first to demand equal pay for women, and preached for more job opportunities for educated women. The Austrian government's annual prize for a woman historian is also named after her.
    Leichter was an socialist political activist that openly opposed World War I. After her party's activity was banned in Austria, she joined an underground socialist organization and published anti-fascism articles under a pseudonym. In 1921, she married socialist journalist Otto Leichter and the couple had two children - Heinz and Franz.
    After the Nazi invasion of Austria in 1938, Marianne tried to escape with her family, but was arrested by the Gestapo in Vienna and imprisoned. Her family managed to get away, but she was sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp in 1940, where she died in a gas chamber two years later, at age 47.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    לאה דויטש
    לאה דויטש
    Lea Deutsch
    (Photo: Yad Vashem)

    The Croatian Shirley Temple wonder child

    Lea Deutsch, a Croatian Jew, was a talented and charismatic young girl who began acting professionally in Croatia at age five. She always won over the hearts of the crowd, and was nicknamed the "Croatian Shirley Temple".
    Despite the efforts of professionals from the theatrical field, to help Lea and her family, they were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in May 1943. Amongst many others on the train, Lea did not survive the journey to the camp, and died at 16 years old.
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