During the Holocaust, more than 3,000 women fought back against the Nazis in ghettos, forced labor camps, concentration camps, and partisan units. In this program, Dr. Lori Weintrob, Director of the Wagner College Holocaust Center, explores the heroic lives and legacies of these female resistance fighters in conversation with Rokhl Kafrissen, Yiddish culture writer and Tablet Magazine contributor, and Rachel Roth, a survivor of Auschwitz.
Watch the program, originally titled Heroines of the Holocaust, below.
This program’s original recording transcript is below. This transcription was created automatically during a live program so may contain inaccurate transcriptions of some words.
Ari Goldstein: All right, Thank you everyone welcome again i’m Barry Goldstein Senior Public programs producer at the Museum of Jewish heritage living memorial to the Holocaust.
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Ari Goldstein: it’s my pleasure to welcome you to today’s program on the heroines of the Holocaust, which we’re hosting in celebration of women’s history month.
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Ari Goldstein: And an honor of the thousands of amazing women who fought back against Nazis and but are not always included in the stories we tell about this chapter of history.
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Ari Goldstein: In addition to being a part of women’s history month this date is symbolic because we’re just a few weeks away from the 78th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, the single largest act of armed resistance by Jews against the Nazis.
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Ari Goldstein: Our featured guest today are lori wine traub director of the Wagner college Holocaust Center who’s devoted her recent scholarship to women resistance leaders in the Holocaust.
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Ari Goldstein: And ruffled campus and a terrific Yiddish culture writer and tablet magazine contributor.
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Ari Goldstein: and later in the program will be joined by special guests rachael Roth, a survivor of Auschwitz who witnessed the Warsaw ghetto uprising firsthand Rachel is assisted by her son Rom Roth, and her grandchildren.
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Ari Goldstein: please feel free to share questions in the zoom chat and Q amp a box and we’ll address as many as we can, at the end of the program without further ado welcome lori ruffle Rachel and Rom and feel free to get started.
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Lori Weintrob: Thank you IRA, for your kinds introduction, I want to express my gratitude to the Museum of Jewish heritage for inviting us here to discuss my research on women and resistance.
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Lori Weintrob: And I want to thank buffalo calf Kristen for are invaluable exchanges on you dish culture and the Holocaust.
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Lori Weintrob: I also want to welcome this evening any Holocaust survivors and their families, my colleagues and all of you for taking the time to join us.
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Lori Weintrob: Women leaders were instrumental in fighting back against anti semitism and Nazi ISM.
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Lori Weintrob: Women were critical to the Jewish underground and resistance networks in many countries as journalists as medical personnel as smugglers of Jewish children as armed fighters and strategists and careers of intelligence and false papers.
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Lori Weintrob: How many women at least 3000 Jewish women bought in the ghettos and partisans units and much more if we include the rescue and resistance networks from France to Greece and Morocco.
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Lori Weintrob: Over 12,000 non Jewish women are listed as righteous gentiles and over 100,000 Jewish women fought in the allied military forces, including as combat pilots one Jewish combat pilot shot down 12 enemy aircraft.
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Lori Weintrob: Over the past five years What began as a quest to understand divya lubec in the highest ranking and only woman in the command of the Warsaw ghetto.
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Lori Weintrob: was expanded through reading written and oral testimony of hundreds of women and the resistance.
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Lori Weintrob: Tonight I am focusing on Jewish women, but the larger projects heroines of the Holocaust engages women of all faiths and races, who participated in saving Jewish lives are fighting against Nazi ISM throughout the world.
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Lori Weintrob: When the Israeli Government selected the 27th of Nissan as a national day of commemoration for the show up they chose the title young hotshot the huggable raw.
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Lori Weintrob: A day of remembrance of Holocaust martyrs and heroes April was chosen for its connection to the Warsaw ghetto uprising and other acts of resistance.
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Lori Weintrob: I argue, we must highlight in our commemorations and in Holocaust and human rights education rescue and resistance and women’s leadership to deepen our understanding of how the Holocaust happened.
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Lori Weintrob: Why can we name the perpetrators, but not the resistors there are many role models of up standards so critical at this moment of global rising anti Semitism and racism.
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Lori Weintrob: Women resistors like the partisan facial men, whose nursing and photography skills were highly valued here deeply that the world know that the Jews and Jewish women resisted.
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Lori Weintrob: She said I want people to know, there was resistance, I took photographs I have proof.
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Lori Weintrob: As one of the leading historians of women in the Holocaust Judy bombshell Schwartz has written women heroism a Holocaust evoke a broad spectrum of associations.
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Lori Weintrob: From resistance fighters to self sacrificing mothers and underground careers to religious martyrs they shulman’s photos like Anne frank’s diary or the art of the children of terrorism and their teacher for.
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Lori Weintrob: Freedom dicker Brandeis also represent a form of resistance and defiance so to was the poetry of Marion Cone a Jewish refugee from the Nazis who rescued children in France at the age of 20 before being tortured and killed.
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Lori Weintrob: I am deeply thankful to all the Holocaust survivors who i’ve worked with.
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Lori Weintrob: Over the past 10 years, and also to the supporters of the Wagner college Holocaust Center the survivors courage has inspired this work.
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Lori Weintrob: Hearing Rachel Ross testimony prior to my first trip to Warsaw and house which with my Wagner college students was one of the catalyst for this project on heroines of the Holocaust.
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Lori Weintrob: or mother Golda as we will see urgent Rachel Rachel to defy quote that scum Hitler.
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Lori Weintrob: Finally, I must add, women have long been on the front lines of social justice movements indeed it’s backbone get are often rendered invisible.
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Lori Weintrob: A recent study by the Pew research Center suggest that women excel at compromise and negotiation in situations where men might take risks and escalate tension divya back in and other women offer clear lessons and transformational leadership relevant to the school of the human spirits.
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Lori Weintrob: I start our presentation this evening with two women who are on the front lines of the final solution, listen to their courage as they confront the heart of the Holocaust.
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Lori Weintrob: When the Nazis invade Russia and operation, Barbara Rossa in June 1941 and specifically Lithuania.
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Lori Weintrob: Sarah tinnitus three uncles are murdered by their janitor in a pogrom incited by the Nazis.
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Lori Weintrob: As the summer ended Sarah and her family were relocated to the Covenant ghetto but true horror was her witnessing at age 17 the first accion in October, when Nazis march 10,000 Jews, to be executed at night for Sarah wrote quote what I saw I will never fade from my memory.
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Lori Weintrob: A slow moving procession of shadows, with neither a beginning or end surrounded by armed policeman that nightmare vision of 10,000 people marching towards death.
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Lori Weintrob: She resolves to take her faith into her own hands her fluent Lithuanian language skills and live hair earned her name she did not like say I read the blonde from the head of the underground and cagno.
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Lori Weintrob: Sarah was able to sit mughal first food than weapons into the ghetto at one point by telling one of the Jewish policeman that she had something not kosher and he helped her across later after she escaped with her husband misha to join the partisan unit death to the occupiers.
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Lori Weintrob: She travels back to the ghetto to help groups escape, including Jewish children and as a partisan.
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Lori Weintrob: She stood up for the rights of women to be involved in warfare.
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Lori Weintrob: Later she was photographed with a rifle standing guard during the liberation of the Vilna gatto.
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Lori Weintrob: This rifle had been a gift from her commander kosta after a moving speech she gave to the Lithuanian partisans for an international women’s day 1944 and, as you know.
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Lori Weintrob: Only last Monday, we celebrated Inshallah international women’s day.
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Lori Weintrob: This many years ago she said, nobody taught us how to fight or to perform our duties, we learned by ourselves not only how to clean and use a gun.
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Lori Weintrob: But how to conduct ourselves in combat and battle, how to blow up a bridge or train and cut communication lines and had to stand on guard.
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Lori Weintrob: And she kissed the rifle she was so happy to have this precious gift, and this is the famous photo taken by a Jewish Soviet officer when he saw her on the day of liberation.
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Lori Weintrob: viggo kempner.
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Lori Weintrob: was a few years older she too was 17 when the Nazis invaded her hometown in eastern Poland in 1939.
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Lori Weintrob: She fled the Nazi invasion to go to Vilna Jerusalem, the Jerusalem of Europe, which was still held by the Soviets she used false papers, she later wrote this was my first act of resistance, she could not stand.
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Lori Weintrob: To see the way the Germans were treating the Jews already in 1939.
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Lori Weintrob: in Vilnius, she joined hot so mayor had set year designers you group, which would later become a resistance cell of Governor but otherwise she lives in a Convent and taught chill toward Catholic children.
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Lori Weintrob: After the Einstein group and the Nazi killing units MasterCard 30,000 Jews, a pony the forest eight miles outside of vilma.
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Lori Weintrob: 24 year olds have a governor and other Jewish shoots since the scale of the danger they recognized early that the massacre side of pony was not an isolated incident, but part of a systemic plan for extermination.
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Lori Weintrob: Hitler conspires to kill all the Jews of Europe and the Jews of Lithuania, have been picked at the first line growth of a corner and what is now considered.
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Lori Weintrob: The first call for arm Jewish resistance is words rise up until your last breath galvanized sinus youth leaders and their allies in the Communist Party to create the United partisan organization or F PO.
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Lori Weintrob: Already, just a few months after the manifesto risk a core check who’s pictured on the Left said what is different about this night we are different if we fall, we shall fall fighting our blood will bring redemption.
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Lori Weintrob: Consider this image, the first act of sabotage by Jewish fighters and Lithuania is credited to vodka kempner a Jewish woman 20 years old.
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Lori Weintrob: Smuggling a homemade bomb out of the ghetto after spending many nights searching for the right location to not trigger collective reprisal she killed 200 German soldiers she and her team.
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Lori Weintrob: kempner was one of the chief lieutenants of the united partisan organization tracking the timetable of German military trains and smuggling weapons in and out of the ghetto.
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Lori Weintrob: Her contemporaries admired her one of the most famous Jewish poets of Vilna Hirsch glick well known for the Jewish part isn’t song zog Nick kind mall that ends we are here.
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Lori Weintrob: paid tribute to her bravery and a Yiddish palm skilled enough quiet, the night is full of stars.
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Lori Weintrob: lick wrote of a girl and a short code and a BLU Ray with a face as soft as velvet who watched for and stopped a truck loaded with ammunition and in this video clip that we’re about to watch one of my students will dramatize.
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Lori Weintrob: Will sing these this this ballad in Yiddish and English and then also we will see because determination to continue acts of sabotage, including in Vilna itself after she had escaped to the partisans.
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I was the commander of the patrol group.
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And I was going every day almost to look for a way of taking action, fighting the Germans, and then I would come back.
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And by night out a score, the group for X of sabotage, I can speak of one of my deeds, and I think it is the most important i’ve sent to bill.
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To make connections and carry out sabotage, together with high and some of the other boys, we decided to do sabotage and Vilna so that the Germans would be afraid that the parsons had come even to build.
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And the aim was to have the girls explode the electric transforms which gave the city light and have the boys destroyed in network of pipes underground.
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The essential water utilities in the sewers so we came they’ll hire me and we had some bombs magnetic bombs and we connected them to the transformers and that night for transformers were exploded with Germans walking through the streets, we hit in the shadows.
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We set the timer for four hours we knew we had to flee villanova but the boys would come.
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They were too tired and, sadly, we made it and the boys did not because they were tired.
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And we were tired, too, but the women were stronger than the men.
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Lori Weintrob: Thank you.
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Lori Weintrob: i’m just going to pull back up my.
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Lori Weintrob: So i’m very grateful that I have the opportunity to work with such talented students and a whole team and i’ll talk a little bit more about the goals of the videos and the work with the students in the Q amp a.
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Lori Weintrob: I want to first focus on introducing you to the women.
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Lori Weintrob: And one of the things that I found surprising in this research is how how much testimony there is about these women, whoever wins.
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Lori Weintrob: And in the most public places at the Eichmann trial of a coven or one of the most famous of all resistance fighter Jewish resistance fighters spoke at length both about.
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Lori Weintrob: vika kempner and other women resistors a vodka, he asked.
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Lori Weintrob: In this courtroom there sits a woman who spent a certain time outside the ghettos with Aaron papers living as a teacher of Catholic children.
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Lori Weintrob: In a secure place and she and others like her, were asked whether they were prepared to return to the ghetto.
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Lori Weintrob: And he goes on and explains how crossing the ghetto, even with potatoes was someone could be shot to death, but on her person she transferred explosives and dynamite.
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Lori Weintrob: And then he continues to memorialize the FBI chief liaison lives imogen who was killed in February 1943.
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Lori Weintrob: whose name became the rallying cry of the partisans and bill not lies that is calling and her name, that means so much during the Holocaust should not be forgotten by us today, and yet in the now analyses of the Eichmann trial, the role of women is hardly mentioned.
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Lori Weintrob: We now turn our attention to simulate back in whose name in Polish became the code word for the country of Poland itself in the entire underground.
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Lori Weintrob: She was the only woman on the high command of the Jewish fighting organization, known as the Z Ob which held out against the German army for four weeks in April of 1943.
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Lori Weintrob: divya lubec and was not yet 2020 years 25 years old, when World War Two began it she already demonstrated strategic thinking about ideology and institutions.
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Lori Weintrob: She had experienced in design as youth group fry height and then took a position training other youth leaders and how he looks hot site year this position required to travel throughout Poland.
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Lori Weintrob: She developed leadership skills that included strategic plan and creating Community critical reflection self restraint and sustaining a common purpose.
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Lori Weintrob: Even before the Nazis occupied Poland, she was key a key part of Jewish mutual aid networks and on Yom Kippur of 1940.
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Lori Weintrob: Their meeting was interrupted by from cup plaque mitzvah another one of the female corners announcing the plans to close the Warsaw ghetto on November of 1940.
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Lori Weintrob: divya immediately launched into negotiations with Polish employers to obtain seasonal agricultural work for Jewish Youth on training farms, offering them invaluable moments of fresh air and food outside of the ghetto.
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Lori Weintrob: Additionally, she made difficult decisions about searching for escape routes to Slovakia, Italy, and particularly to Eric sister l.
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Lori Weintrob: or third priority was organizing social, educational and cultural activities.
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Lori Weintrob: Almost 100,000 Jews in the Warsaw ghetto died of hunger and disease, the need was great and divya played a key role among those responding with emergency social welfare and assistance as part of drawer.
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Lori Weintrob: Her strong diplomatic skills made her invaluable in negotiations with the joint distribution committee the jv see the Union right and the bonds when the news upholstery and shall know reached Warsaw in January of 1942 by way of the careers or could share ios.
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Lori Weintrob: divya and others responded alongside her husband gets caught zukerman they nurtured the formation of the first anti fascist organization in Warsaw in April of 1942 around the time of Passover.
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Lori Weintrob: Resistance began to gather momentum within a few months priorities have shifted to acquiring arms two weeks after the start of the gracie participation of in the summer of 1942 when Yannis korczak along with, let us not forget to find.
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Lori Weintrob: will escape will minsky who ran the orphanage as a team with korczak marched with their 200 orphans to the trains and when Rachel rovs three younger siblings were deported to Treblinka death camp as well.
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Lori Weintrob: divya was one of the founders of the Jewish fighting organization which brought together representatives of harsh on mayor had site year drawer haha Lewis and occupy youth movements.
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Lori Weintrob: printed wall posters and manifestos encouraged hiding and they send people to the area and sector to obtain weapons.
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Lori Weintrob: From the who had been called the mama began to call herself the grave digger of the Jews, for all of her warnings to take for the Jews, to go into hiding.
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Lori Weintrob: Six months later, when the Germans entered the ghetto, they were ready for tactical choices and reflections are evidence in her memoir and captured in this video, which represents her writing about the January X young.
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Lori Weintrob: Three months before the Warsaw ghetto uprising when another 6000 Jews were deported to her death and she’ll be fought, the Germans, for the first time the video shows the Nazi reaction to women fighting.
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Lori Weintrob: Although none of the women made up any of the 27 section leaders, they were numerous in the gop.
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Lori Weintrob: Finally, this video describes her escape through the sewers she was only one of 34 to be fighters to survive the war which weighed heavily on her listen carefully to her reflections, as she makes her way out of the burning ghetto.
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People care about each other.
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possible for us to do what he or she did this source of ours.
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The Germans can no longer just pick Jews off the street, they were not forced to enter every building and search for their victims, therefore, we decided, we would not attack them in the open, but would wait for them to come to us.
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We assume they would not take too many precautions, since they were not expecting us to be waiting for them with guns in our hands.
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We hit in our positions.
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We were about 40 men and women under Yitzhak sacraments command we had only for hand grenades and for pistols in our possession, most of us were armed with iron pipes sticks and our own original weapon.
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light bulbs filled with sulfuric acid.
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Just let the Germans come, and we will bring their disgusting faces with this cocktail of ours.
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We know that, after influx casualties, we will be overpowered by their forces and destroyed.
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We we eagerly for them to arrive.
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The hour of revenge has come.
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We will fall with honor and dignity.
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The House fell silent.
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The few Jews living abandon their apartments in search of safer hiding places.
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The hush was periodically disturbed by the agonizing cries of the Jews being led to the plots.
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The wailing was puncture or a German screeching laufen snow snow laufen run faster run.
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Our mood wasn’t steady at times the tension led up to be replaced by an all encompassing sadness.
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We stood apart.
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Each of us alone with his thoughts clutching his gun.
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This is how we waited the first shot.
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The systematic extermination in Warsaw had been going on for half a year, and not a single shot had been fired at the murders.
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of what happened now.
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But we stand the test.
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In the end, with heavy and tortured hearts, we all just sent it into the sewer canal, I now felt the full meaning of the punch.
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Your legs are drenched in the foul smelling cold SLIME of the sewer but you keep on walking.
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You crawl through the sewer canal utterly exhausted, but your mind never ceases to function never rest here entire being is centered on the reckoning of your life.
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And the movement which has given that life, meaning and purpose you envision the shadow of a distant dream you shared with their comrades, a dream of a far off land of efforts East right now and it’s life of friendship and work, human dignity and pride.
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Lori Weintrob: I focus on the January uprising, because of the tactics that divya uses and it shows how valuable was her leadership in this unit of youth of drawer and gordonia.
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Lori Weintrob: Led by Sylvia loop back in and zakaria arts team laid an ambush for the Germans inside the building mortify any leverages men had confronted the Germans with hand grenades on the plus in a different tactic, then the one that would be adopted in the April uprising.
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Lori Weintrob: divya devotes a full chapter to the female careers, who work tirelessly with her i’m going to in the interest of time we’ll come back to this in the Q amp a.
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Lori Weintrob: divya was directly involved in military operations in both the January and April uprisings, for example, mortify any leverage off immediately beckons help to ease tensions with ardent or activists in his area.
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Lori Weintrob: At the height of the battle in late April, the commie de notably including divya directed the battle in the central ghetto.
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Lori Weintrob: In the may 8 escape from the sewers divya not only carried her gun but threatened to use it over a disagreement regarding her decision about rescuing fighters.
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Lori Weintrob: Further 22% of the fighters in the Warsaw Uprising including divya where women her colleague Shalom praised her in these terms zippy his leadership skills.
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Lori Weintrob: Were tremendous know quote the emotional ability to unite such a group in such a short time was one of the wonders of those days, and it was thanks mainly to Vivian challenge.
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Lori Weintrob: and her ability to unite, a group of youngsters with an ideological experience, full of warmth comradeship and brotherhood to serve as a shelter for times of attack and disaster.
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Lori Weintrob: And now it is my honor to introduce.
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Lori Weintrob: Rachel Roth, and the story of as an eye witness of the uprising, along with her son Rom and granddaughters in the spring of 2014.
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Lori Weintrob: In the spring of 2014 I met Rachel row author survivor of the Warsaw ghetto uprising and of the death camps of Madonna Auschwitz and Bergen belsen shortly before I took my students to those sites.
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Lori Weintrob: rachel’s memoir here, there is no why highlights her exchanging Madonna and the promise to a woman who was not Jewish well here’s her speak about the shabbat.
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Lori Weintrob: to bear witness in the early days of the Warsaw ghetto Rachel was 14 years old, she studied literature and chemistry in illegal schools, while working first at home sewing buttons.
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Lori Weintrob: and later in many different jobs inside and out of the ghetto she gradually gradually became aware of the underground movement through leaflets and friends who are committed to resistance rachel’s loss of her younger siblings and the great deportation and her mother transformed her.
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Lori Weintrob: hobby Dreyfus his most recent book on the final year of the Warsaw ghetto argues that 98% of the Jews who did not take up arms but hid as Rachel and her grandfather did.
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Lori Weintrob: Help account for what enabled the gop and other armed forces to hold out for four weeks against the Germans and therefore must be considered resistors.
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Lori Weintrob: But in every way, you will see resistance throughout rachel’s story here is her tragic history presented with her speaking, as well as dramatization in our final video this evening.
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Five, and work is becoming increasingly difficult densely populated cut out for young people and as children there’s only one week occupy that is study.
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The mother, has decided, we will continue our education, no matter what.
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The right box of all our possessions, but he can never take away what you have learned.
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She says with conviction time does not stand still, even in a war someday this nightmare will and there’s a.
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Little young does not study the va.
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We will not give it time all.
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So I told him I listened to, I told my wife to help us he said no, very good don’t know who will not be named Kate to them kill you and then put the gun in my life I had high shoes and then somebody gave me two packages they told me to put us in in the code on my bad pun here.
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And dress in the code and then after the work was finished, I came to the game.
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And he found it, but it.
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can make me back to the garden.
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and the following day, we were sitting we already went into a telepathic we may will enter rosie rosie we jumped through the ceiling down to the end my my grandfather’s throw a package of matter, because it would be for pace, or may not go out from there.
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And we’re sitting, can we stay, we had we had a a tank coming and shooting and crying can will the wounded people in this thing again became.
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And I was in my.
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hey their clothes, she tried to run away I do get a seat there you go good man she’s a girl charged right away.
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And you have a standing there holding our eyes to watch the hanging because somebody had in mind to do the same, which.
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is all part.
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It will extend the body life enhanced by the was hated try and praying and praying and your support in order of charging somebody ventures is Friday evening.
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For us Friday you for as jude is a holiday toy I said you though I was bringing out a white tablecloth don’t have the fear the fear when you’re now we’ll see the seed, you see, this is my father’s house on Friday.
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This this is.
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sitting next to you.
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This beautiful shot starts to snow.
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Storm and then all of the.
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morning five o’clock four o’clock on a Monday was a wish, we can go on the block tonight and then go again a woman and child to hold my hand, you said you have a gift for you can speak so nice you did today.
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Thank you very much for inviting me to the shabbat table at you my supervisor if God gives you a gift as wonderful rate of change and you must two days, the work well, the problem is, we flow into me.
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Lori Weintrob: Rom that was such a beautiful depiction of your mom’s story, can you tell us a little bit about do you picture your mom as courageous or maybe one of the girls, would like to answer.
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Ram Roth: I picture my mom is as tough.
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Ram Roth: Courageous I don’t think about that, but I picture has strong and tough and stronger than many people that we encounter in our daily life and it’s it’s hard to imagine her dealing with all the things that she told us about, but I can see it, I definitely can see it.
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Lori Weintrob: I see someone in the chat asking if there’s really 52 grandchildren and great grandchildren and maybe also mentioned about going to Auschwitz for the 75th anniversary.
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Ram Roth: Go ahead so they’re actually more ancestors than that so she has five kids 18 grandkids and about.
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Ram Roth: 4243 great grandchildren so in total it’s over 60 descendants from her and she’s very proud of that, and that’s important to our family that’s important to her.
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Ram Roth: And last year, just before the pandemic started, we were invited to the 75th anniversary, she was invited to the 75th anniversary of the Auschwitz.
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Ram Roth: liberation and she was allowed to bring one person with her, but she instead brought the entire family, so we had over 40 people came with us we’re the largest delegation there and it was pretty amazing.
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Lori Weintrob: it’s beautiful and she spoke, I guess, a few times that you’re the girls school, can you tell us about that, and if maybe there was a special moments among the times that she spoke or went with you on trips to Auschwitz.
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Ram Roth: So I would say I was always really excited for her to come and talk to my classmates because.
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Ram Roth: we’d always learned about the Holocaust from a really young age, but really showing my friends like I had with somebody who went through that and then it’s really true and it’s really real.
00:39:56.610 –> 00:40:10.320
Ram Roth: um it was really special and it really comes through like when she says don’t tell people about the Holocaust, but I really tell people that I existed i’m real and you saw me and you knew me and I was real.
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Ram Roth: So she went Whenever she had a chance, she spoke.
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Ram Roth: It started pre before she even wrote her book she was telling the story our every dinner table every shabbat table every holiday table, you know you couldn’t stop her from telling you about about what happened to her.
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Ram Roth: And it was all very disconnected until she wrote her book here, there is no why, and then it was sort of very clear to all of us, the whole sequence of events that who, who is in a story and who was her family, all the Members that were killed.
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Ram Roth: And my most spoken every opportunity, she got whether it’s impromptu in front of a group of tourists at.
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Ram Roth: People traveling through my dominic or Warsaw or organized she spoke with the State Department she spoken Raphael in Israel.
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Ram Roth: She went with her with my children’s school three of them went on TRIPS three three children round trips or two children went on TRIPS and she went she went with three groups, even when she didn’t have a grandchild of the trip.
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Lori Weintrob: Thank you bomb and and and clementine.
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Lori Weintrob: And and it’s so beautiful to see all of you, and I think i’m going to turn it over to Russell maybe there’ll be more questions for the family or maybe there’s some questions for me.
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Rokhl Kafrissen: um well there’s so much that we could talk about and there’s so many so many avenues to explore here and hearing Rachel story is really just so incredible and.
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Rokhl Kafrissen: also raises questions about how we tell our stories and, of course, for every person that’s going to be different, and it could be very, very different, some people are reluctant to speak about their stories some some are very open about their stories.
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Rokhl Kafrissen: And you know you’ve been teaching young people about the Holocaust you’ve been helping them engage with primary sources in very interesting ways, so I have some questions about that.
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Rokhl Kafrissen: But I would actually like to go back to some of the women that you covered in the slides and just ask a very simple question when you know we talked about the different roles that women had it often comes up that they were careers.
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Rokhl Kafrissen: Can you explain what that was, and if that was gendered were there more women who are acting as careers, what did that mean.
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Lori Weintrob: So yes, there, there were often women who are careers, because often women had gone to Polish school and they were able to pass more easily linguistically.
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Lori Weintrob: There also wore gendered expectations that women might not be involved in resistance that could sometimes help them, I had skipped over a part that I wanted to read from CVs memoir that explains.
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Lori Weintrob: This the story of how she writes about them in her memoir there’s a chapter our women liaison she writes about Blanca.
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Lori Weintrob: who spoke not only Polish you dish and Hebrew but had studied, French and German at the university and picked up English Russian and Ukrainian.
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Lori Weintrob: worked very closely with her and yet skok and she wrote, there is no destination Longo could not reach this is heavier writing.
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Lori Weintrob: I remember packing her suitcase hiding the dangerous material and a false compartment thinking to myself anxiously.
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Lori Weintrob: Who knows what may happen to her indeed on one trip, the German searched everyone’s suitcase at a train station.
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Lori Weintrob: langa didn’t panic at the last moment, she handed her heavy suitcase to a newly found German acquaintance who was so taken by her that he gallantly accompanied her to the train.
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Lori Weintrob: pass the line of German guards without the slightest suspicion of what he was carrying, so in that chapter of her memoir she tells many stories.
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Lori Weintrob: and
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Rokhl Kafrissen: lori what’s the name of the memoir.
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Lori Weintrob: zilla beckons memoir in is of destruction and revolt and you can also read about her little more easily it’s easier to find her testimony in the Eichmann trial.
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Lori Weintrob: where she also gives a lot of details all the less about the careers what really strikes me about her memoir is unlike most autobiographies she’s really writing the history of a movement it’s about teamwork.
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Lori Weintrob: And there’s a glossary with about 200 names, I think, half of them are women and there’s just an interest in painting everybody’s picture.
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Lori Weintrob: um that that really makes it, you know it’s part of what makes her so exceptional that she really believed in this project as a collective projects and so she doesn’t just inspire me in terms of her mean her holocaust, you know resistance is exceptional.
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Lori Weintrob: It you know it surprises me that more people don’t know her name I really believe it’s essential that we should all know her name the leaders of the vizio be and and all she accomplishes.
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Lori Weintrob: But you know get stuck zukerman on the 25th anniversary said the Warsaw ghetto uprising it’s not for learning military tactics, although I think there are some in there.
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Lori Weintrob: But it’s about learning the school of the human spirit I really think that this this approach of research and education, as part, you know as it as Holocaust education and in general leadership as a team.
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Lori Weintrob: Is some is an amazing lesson we can learn with her and that’s why I tried to show that also in the videos how I will you know I, I have to thank.
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Lori Weintrob: me over solo who edits all the videos with me who directs them who does the research and the students Ruth is the first human rights major.
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Lori Weintrob: Holocaust and human rights minor at Wagner college there’s just a team of people.
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Lori Weintrob: who have volunteered their time and energy to backup this project, my colleague Laura Moore with who’s co organizing the Holocaust, the heroines of the Holocaust conference.
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Lori Weintrob: This June and then an extended one in June of 2022, so I hope there’s many lessons that people will take from today.
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Lori Weintrob: Both about revisiting how we tell about the final solution, I studied with Saul freelander one of the best.
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Lori Weintrob: Holocaust historians in the world, and I believe deeply that our questions have to ultimately answer How did the Holocaust happen, and I believe writing that without telling the story of these women is an incomplete.
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Lori Weintrob: story Eve Their stories actually reveal a great deal about how how the Jewish community responded to the final solution and and specific strategic tactics these thousands of Jewish women displayed.
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Rokhl Kafrissen: So you know what’s so interesting is not only are we talking about these women’s stories, which have not.
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Rokhl Kafrissen: been brought to light and we’re often kind of marginalized but there they were young women and there’s so much there to unpack and I have so many questions about that, first of all questions about how.
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Rokhl Kafrissen: The this your students today when they’re learning these histories and they realize how young these people were both the men and the women who were resisting How does that change their perception of history number one.
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Rokhl Kafrissen: Number two you know, I have a question about the role of these youth organizations like drawer and and other youth organizations.
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Rokhl Kafrissen: How did they prepare their female Members were they attentive to developing women within the cadre of the youth organizations, for example, because it seems like the the the women who came out of those youth movements.
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Rokhl Kafrissen: Really weren’t ready to take leadership positions and, of course, I also want to talk to you a little bit more about how the students responded to your use of drama and music as a pedagogical tool, but those that’s a lot of questions right there which one do you.
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Lori Weintrob: want to say something.
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Ram Roth: Oh, please you asked a lot of interesting questions that i’d like to focus on is a they were only the young girls who could manage to survive mash to fight, you know my mother was 13 at the start of the war.
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Ram Roth: And in terms of.
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Ram Roth: The Youth connecting to make to make them, you know the movement and you know from from what I heard about my mother’s story is that she was willing to be 100% in she smuggled guns twice into the ghetto, but on the third occasion her grandfather, who is an old man or 50.
00:49:02.310 –> 00:49:14.790
Ram Roth: Caught her and and stole her boots so that she could not do it again, so I don’t know if the youth organizations treated the girls differently, but certainly the parents and the older generations treated the girls differently.
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Ram Roth: hmm interesting.
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Lori Weintrob: um I want to start actually by going back to Rachel story and Rachel reading rachel’s memoir here, there is no why.
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Lori Weintrob: I took 18 students and a couple of parents to Warsaw Krakow in Berlin worse or Krakow and and and Auschwitz.
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Lori Weintrob: And as they I mean students wrote the most beautiful beautiful reflections of how in Warsaw, they felt they were walking in rachel’s footsteps.
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Lori Weintrob: there’s just this incredible connection, and you know the usc Shoah Foundation has kind of been on the front lines of using video testimony and reminding us how powerful, it is to hear the words of the survivors.
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Lori Weintrob: And so, this project actually started in that way with videos and then with meeting survivors my students meeting the survivors and studying the usc show videos that have been done on Staten island, there were 40 back in the 1990s.
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Lori Weintrob: And they connected with the survivors so deeply through their words, for example, one of my students JESSICA who’s not Jewish.
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Lori Weintrob: said that she felt like she got to know the survivor Margot capella better than her own parents.
00:50:31.770 –> 00:50:41.340
Lori Weintrob: because she listened to the tape hundreds of times to hear how the survivors were breathing it’s a method of acting developed by my colleague, to be some McCarthy.
00:50:41.880 –> 00:50:54.270
Lori Weintrob: Based off of Anna deavere Smith work, and then we have now applied that to these resistant these women who are in the resistance, the same idea that the students can just.
00:50:55.230 –> 00:51:08.490
Lori Weintrob: You know step into step into history and as powerful as it is to hear someone you know who’s who’s lived their life in this way it’s also an opportunity for the students to see that.
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Lori Weintrob: That this person was actually only 17 only 22 I think you know devious 3025 at the beginning of the war and 2029 or 30 you know, by the time of the uprising so.
00:51:22.200 –> 00:51:31.770
Lori Weintrob: I think that element is somewhat you know under studied, although the ghetto fighters house museum also does use some interesting dramatizations of.
00:51:32.250 –> 00:51:41.910
Lori Weintrob: Zambia and Mary berg’s and other testimonies by young young actors so it’s just an interesting way to reach a new generation of young people.
00:51:42.210 –> 00:51:53.940
Lori Weintrob: And, for example, Marion Cone rescues a 10 year old girl who later gives testimony, and so I have somebody girl as youngest 10 who’s studying the testimony and memorizing it.
00:51:54.360 –> 00:51:59.910
Lori Weintrob: And this is this is like another project terror when voices, we hope to do 50 women.
00:52:00.300 –> 00:52:08.370
Lori Weintrob: And the bigger scholarly project is to ask you know, is there a cannon is there is there, he said of women leaders.
00:52:08.670 –> 00:52:17.940
Lori Weintrob: Who whose names like Oscar Schindler and Raul Wallenberg that everybody should know and and and that would be Jewish women primary you know Jewish women and non Jewish women.
00:52:18.270 –> 00:52:38.220
Lori Weintrob: Who are these women who were really you know at the forefront, and then through their stories to get a much bigger group of women who, who can who’s leadership can really inspire all of us it’s it’s really essential to to integrate rescue and resistance into the history of the Holocaust.
00:52:38.610 –> 00:52:38.910
Lori Weintrob: um.
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Rokhl Kafrissen: Well, as looms so.
00:52:40.950 –> 00:52:48.540
Rokhl Kafrissen: There have been some questions about the conference that you’re planning, so I was wondering if you could just say a little bit about the Conference on.
00:52:49.260 –> 00:52:58.830
Rokhl Kafrissen: On this topic that you’re planning, right now, and also do you plan on having the your students participate and in what way are you going to have them participate.
00:52:59.730 –> 00:53:05.520
Lori Weintrob: yeah Those are all good questions I was just going to take one second to pull up the slide.
00:53:06.180 –> 00:53:06.990
Rokhl Kafrissen: Okay, great.
00:53:07.470 –> 00:53:09.420
Lori Weintrob: For the conference I happen to be.
00:53:10.710 –> 00:53:12.990
Lori Weintrob: On that slide and.
00:53:14.040 –> 00:53:28.320
Lori Weintrob: Let me just see here does that work can you see the slides again um so yeah so the conference was originally scheduled in its entirety, for this June we postpone the main conference two days a two day conference.
00:53:28.800 –> 00:53:34.650
Lori Weintrob: 45 international scholars from 10 different countries, speaking about all aspects of.
00:53:35.220 –> 00:53:40.440
Lori Weintrob: heroines of the Holocaust, we postpone that till next year I hope many people will come.
00:53:40.740 –> 00:53:53.070
Lori Weintrob: And this year we’re doing a one hour mini conference with six of the world’s leading scholars on this topic, presenting their research and again it’s very much in the spirit of resistance in the Holocaust, to have.
00:53:53.430 –> 00:54:11.730
Lori Weintrob: A collective you know group working on this, this together, you know it’s it’s in the spirit of these women who believe so much in a common purpose and one of the elements at the conference in next June will be an exhibit of tapestries of 10.
00:54:12.780 –> 00:54:24.780
Lori Weintrob: Fierce female Holocaust heroes created by Linda Stein and she includes divya and vic go, but also on a Spanish and frank nor con.
00:54:25.560 –> 00:54:33.300
Lori Weintrob: A Muslim woman who is in the St Louis and doing reconnaissance and who is killed, tortured, at Dachau.
00:54:33.750 –> 00:54:46.740
Lori Weintrob: And, and several other women of different faiths and I just want to mention among groups that have been doing this for a long time the remember the women Institute has done a lot of work on memorializing and and.
00:54:47.640 –> 00:54:56.790
Lori Weintrob: The site in yada sham to Rosa bata so that’s also an important person to know that there was women’s resistance at Auschwitz.
00:54:57.120 –> 00:55:06.750
Lori Weintrob: And one of the Staten island Holocaust survivors that I work with was an eyewitness to that uprising and surely goddess Min and she also wrote a memoir and has done a lot of.
00:55:07.410 –> 00:55:15.810
Lori Weintrob: Work we’ve captured her testimony and many interesting ways, including her remembering the sending of the hectic but, at the end of the revolt.
00:55:16.290 –> 00:55:27.600
Lori Weintrob: And just to quickly mention a few other people Marianne Cone has a garden at yet a sham in her memory i’m currently fascinated by Josephine baker and.
00:55:28.170 –> 00:55:37.980
Lori Weintrob: and Marie Madeleine for cod for cod is a non Jewish woman who was at the top of the largest resistance network in France, the alliance.
00:55:38.580 –> 00:55:47.820
Lori Weintrob: which the Germans gave the name noah’s Ark and Josephine baker was using invisible ink on her sheet music working directly with the French military.
00:55:48.780 –> 00:55:56.760
Lori Weintrob: to smuggle in information and then this woman in the lower right is is newer con there’s a new film about her a call to spy.
00:55:57.240 –> 00:56:07.560
Lori Weintrob: And then I really want to rethink the art of the children and terrorism is not only a beautiful human mystic creation, but the way in which.
00:56:08.370 –> 00:56:15.240
Lori Weintrob: Their teacher friedel dicker Brandeis tortured by the guests not not tortured, but interviewed in interrogated.
00:56:15.900 –> 00:56:27.270
Lori Weintrob: humiliated by the Gestapo in 1934 very early on her work with non Jewish women in a Communist cell and how that informs her teaching of art.
00:56:28.020 –> 00:56:36.990
Lori Weintrob: and looking at these canvases as a statement of defiance and here you can see that this young girl who is among the half.
00:56:37.620 –> 00:56:53.130
Lori Weintrob: The quarter million Jewish children killed in Auschwitz she creates this painting that in the Scotch she’s turned the sky read like blood and put you a stars in the sky and taking this bureaucratic paper.
00:56:54.180 –> 00:57:04.890
Lori Weintrob: From the you know the machinery of death and turns it upside down it’s just it’s just astonishing these works when you start to revisit them from this lens of women and resistance.
00:57:05.280 –> 00:57:15.000
Lori Weintrob: And to remember that Hannah sanish was with three other women to other women that there were three women among the 27 parish students from Palestine and.
00:57:15.360 –> 00:57:21.810
Lori Weintrob: You just you start looking into these stories right and frank, you have to look at the rescuer be me yes and.
00:57:22.680 –> 00:57:35.730
Lori Weintrob: You know this broad definition of resistance and how that can create empathy and and to go back to my students how fascinating it is for non Jewish students or Jewish and non Jewish students.
00:57:36.090 –> 00:57:44.340
Lori Weintrob: They meet with children in the Shiva is and they teach the children and the issue is about these lessons of the Holocaust and show them these monologues.
00:57:45.540 –> 00:57:58.530
Lori Weintrob: And it’s just you know it’s really it’s just so beautiful to to you know to see students of all races African American students Hispanic students men and women Jewish women playing Jewish men.
00:57:59.250 –> 00:58:06.510
Lori Weintrob: And crossing all these boundaries, it really it opens up a new kind of empathy in relation to testimony.
00:58:08.460 –> 00:58:18.120
Rokhl Kafrissen: yeah I want to put in a plug also for people who are interested in the Warsaw ghetto there’s a really incredible new movie new ish in the last two years.
00:58:18.690 –> 00:58:27.750
Rokhl Kafrissen: called who will write our history, which is about the manual wrinkle bloom winning showbiz collective in the Warsaw ghetto and.
00:58:28.260 –> 00:58:34.200
Rokhl Kafrissen: Rachel all your boss, who was part of that and survived and went on to become a very important.
00:58:34.590 –> 00:58:44.460
Rokhl Kafrissen: leader of she was collecting testimony for Yad Vashem, when the admission started in Israel on the 15th and she also has a really incredible story and.
00:58:45.060 –> 00:58:53.640
Rokhl Kafrissen: So the movie is a dramatization of her and what happened in the ghetto, and I highly encourage people to watch it it’s now available for streaming.
00:58:55.800 –> 00:58:57.750
Rokhl Kafrissen: Who will write our history i’m going to put that in the chat.
00:58:59.070 –> 00:59:11.250
Lori Weintrob: And I believe that the Museum of Jewish heritage will circulate some you know ideas about sources there’s a tremendous film put out by the music museum the Museum in Warsaw.
00:59:12.750 –> 00:59:26.130
Lori Weintrob: That that dramatize is the Warsaw ghetto uprising and is somewhat you know it is more inclusive it includes divya story, and I think also hosea altman among the key resistance fighters that they depict.
00:59:26.610 –> 00:59:34.770
Lori Weintrob: So I mean again the end and there’s also a new book that’s coming out, and I believe Judy Battalion is speaking at the Museum of Jewish heritage.
00:59:35.190 –> 00:59:45.120
Lori Weintrob: and her book is being reviewed and has been optioned for film so so more and more of this work is coming along and I, I encourage you know.
00:59:45.570 –> 00:59:57.120
Lori Weintrob: Everybody to ask these kinds of questions you know what does you know Holocaust education look like when you when you ask about both rescue and resistance, when you see it as a form of defiance.
00:59:57.810 –> 01:00:12.960
Lori Weintrob: from which we can learn today, and particularly when you can think about the women in these rescue and resistance movements and their defiance as inspiring leaders I think that’s I think it’s a it’s a new way to look at the Holocaust and.
01:00:14.100 –> 01:00:15.390
Lori Weintrob: I think it’s very valuable.
01:00:16.440 –> 01:00:23.280
Lori Weintrob: Absolutely, and I think it really comes organically out of hearing so many survivors stories i’ve been.
01:00:23.970 –> 01:00:40.350
Lori Weintrob: You know, having lunch and and and spending time with my students and survivors for almost 10 years and, and very often i’m listening and i’m thinking it’s so there’s so much courage in these stories that that is something we have to pay more attention to.
01:00:40.860 –> 01:00:51.510
Rokhl Kafrissen: yeah absolutely and also, we also have to think about how even the smallest X or resistance took enormous amounts of courage, because the stakes were so high.
01:00:52.590 –> 01:01:05.370
Lori Weintrob: yeah and that’s why we lead with rachel’s mother’s story, you know, have a goal this attitude that she had to send her children to school and the ghetto, even though it was illegal it was critical.
01:01:06.570 –> 01:01:18.510
Lori Weintrob: You know, and I believe that you know the there’s a know another set of questions I just started to hints out of the motivation that these young women have for resisting and I believe you know in rachel’s case.
01:01:18.930 –> 01:01:23.460
Lori Weintrob: Her storytelling in Madonna can be traced back to her mother’s defiance in Warsaw.
01:01:25.050 –> 01:01:34.740
Lori Weintrob: And you know there’s a bigger story with rachel’s family but that’s, for you know another program about her father, who was a journalist to get his journalist and so on.
01:01:35.640 –> 01:01:43.200
Rokhl Kafrissen: There were a lot of questions about Rachel story and i’m so thankful, we were able to have the royal family here and I hope that we’ll have some more.
01:01:44.250 –> 01:01:58.800
Rokhl Kafrissen: Resources about her and her story, so that people can follow up when there’s going to be resources sent out tomorrow, correct and because I know there’s there’s just a lot of interest there and wait two more questions that we can get to now, unfortunately.
01:02:00.570 –> 01:02:06.870
Ram Roth: Just wanna say lori use you suggested, I think about was gold heroin.
01:02:07.950 –> 01:02:18.990
Ram Roth: And I honestly never thought about it until you just sent it out just before this meeting and absolutely, because one thing is you’re focusing on the you know telling the children to learn.
01:02:20.280 –> 01:02:28.650
Ram Roth: She had the opportunity to to run away with her with her husband, who was being hunted by the Gestapo.
01:02:29.970 –> 01:02:38.580
Ram Roth: And she said no you’re going to be more successful if you go alone you’re going to be easier to hide easier to transport, she she stayed behind.
01:02:39.150 –> 01:02:47.880
Ram Roth: To and stayed with the children and stayed with her family to sacrifice yourself for him and then later on when she actually had papers to leave.
01:02:48.390 –> 01:02:58.830
Ram Roth: Warsaw, she had Palestine papers that he arranged for her, she said i’m not leaving without my children, she she stayed behind because some of her children were already taken, and she was determined to find them.
01:02:59.640 –> 01:03:11.520
Ram Roth: So she certainly was a source of strength through my mother, I think, even through outer life my mother talks to her about my mother will mention to us how for mother gave her good advice and how.
01:03:12.540 –> 01:03:13.680
Ram Roth: I just last year sorry.
01:03:15.600 –> 01:03:22.020
Ram Roth: So how her mother gave her strong advice and made her who she was even though she was just a child at the time.
01:03:23.250 –> 01:03:33.840
Ram Roth: She also survived with her aunt ella who is another very strong figure who sacrificed her food so that my mother can survive and they kept each other alive.
01:03:39.630 –> 01:03:45.180
Ram Roth: So thank you for having us, and thank you for shining the spotlight lori on on the heroines of the hottest.
01:03:46.080 –> 01:03:58.320
Lori Weintrob: it’s always wonderful to see your mom and to be able to share her story writing the play, including the survivors of Staten island stories and the Warsaw ghetto uprising was very powerful.
01:03:58.860 –> 01:04:07.140
Lori Weintrob: it’s really thousands of students have seen it now on Staten island and in New Jersey and in Manhattan and we hope to continue to do that.
01:04:10.170 –> 01:04:14.910
Rokhl Kafrissen: Oh okay i’m lori do we have anything else to cover.
01:04:16.980 –> 01:04:18.690
Rokhl Kafrissen: we’ve covered a lot here.
01:04:19.830 –> 01:04:31.680
Lori Weintrob: Yes, um well just I mean just to reiterate, you know it’s not just a topic for women’s history month, but I I do urge everybody to listen to the whole speech that Sarah.
01:04:32.190 –> 01:04:44.340
Lori Weintrob: Good nights of Robinson gave on international women’s day 94 you can find it on the headwind voices.org website and we’ll have all those links in the email that sent around and.
01:04:45.810 –> 01:04:58.080
Lori Weintrob: Just to mention that all three of these women fit a theory by IV, who Ronan have dual leadership, all of them has partners that were also in the resistance and that’s the whole power couple is a whole nother.
01:04:59.280 –> 01:05:10.290
Lori Weintrob: Another topic, but in terms of women, I just want everybody to just remember these numbers 12,000 Jewish non Jewish women righteous gentiles 3000 Jewish women.
01:05:10.530 –> 01:05:20.670
Lori Weintrob: There are so many stories and and please keep looking for them and sharing them I think it’s it’s really essential and I hope that you will also join us in this work.
01:05:21.420 –> 01:05:25.140
Rokhl Kafrissen: Thank you lori, for you know, presenting such an incredible.
01:05:26.220 –> 01:05:28.800
Rokhl Kafrissen: program of information that is just you know.
01:05:29.400 –> 01:05:38.730
Rokhl Kafrissen: given us so many questions and and there’s so many places that I know a lot of people are going to be looking for more information and are going to be following up and also following your work in the future.
01:05:39.060 –> 01:05:48.720
Rokhl Kafrissen: So I think that i’m going to say thank you for putting together this evening and we’re going to go to Ari Goldstein from the Museum of Jewish heritage to wrap up the evening.
01:05:50.730 –> 01:05:51.210
Ari Goldstein: I.
01:05:52.230 –> 01:06:02.310
Ari Goldstein: A very big thank you on behalf of the museum, for your scholarship with this lori for moderating this for us Rocco and to Rachel and your family for being with us.
01:06:02.670 –> 01:06:14.400
Ari Goldstein: On it so eye opening and heartwarming to have you with us and it’s a reminder of how recent this history was so so we were left with a lot to think about.
01:06:15.000 –> 01:06:20.910
Ari Goldstein: We will send out that email tomorrow with the recording a link to rachel’s book and many other follow up resources.
01:06:21.330 –> 01:06:25.980
Ari Goldstein: We hope you guys will join us with Judy Italian next month and with all the other Perkins we hosted the museum.
01:06:26.340 –> 01:06:30.390
Ari Goldstein: And I do want to mention that everything we do with the Museum of Jewish heritage is made possible.
01:06:30.720 –> 01:06:42.750
Ari Goldstein: By the supportive Community Members, like you, watching tonight, so if you’re able please consider making a donation in support of the museum and if you’ve already donated you’re a member of the museum Thank you so much for making it work possible.
01:06:43.470 –> 01:06:48.540
Ari Goldstein: So I wish everyone a great evening Rocco lori Rachel Thank you and.
01:06:50.850 –> 01:06:53.700
Lori Weintrob: Everyone okay bye bye Thank you.