Abstract | Background | The Couriers | The Fate of Jewish Women in Occupied Poland | Living a Double Identity in Perilous Times | Courier Profiles: Lonka Kozibrodska, and Why Women Were the Couriers | Havka Folman | Frumka Plotnicka…"Die Mameh" | Sima | Gusta Davidson Draenger | Mala Zimetbaum | The Destruction of Crematorium Number Four | What Sustained Them? | Conclusion | Endnotes | Bibliography

Frumka Plotnicka…"Die Mameh"

Havka Folman's fellow courier Frumka Plotnicka was a leader in the Hehalutz youth movement and then the ZOB, helping coordinate the movement's operations and establishing movement branches. It was said that she loved the movement and cared for it like a mother. Frumka smuggled the first weapons for the resistance into the Warsaw Ghetto, once in the bottom of a sack of potatoes. She went on many missions, witnessing the annihilation of so many Jewish communities and deportations to death camps that she referred to herself sardonically as, "the gravedigger of the Jewish people."56

Frumka regularly crossed the border between the General-Government and the Soviet zone to reach Jewish communities. In the Warsaw Ghetto, she gave counsel and encouragement to desperate souls. Zivia Lubetkin described Frumka's charisma in the Warsaw ghetto. Like Lonka, Frumka was an inspiration to her people:

Jews would flock around her from all sides. One would ask her if he should return home or continue his way eastward to the Soviet-dominated provinces. Another would come in search of a hot meal or a loaf of bread for his wife and children. They called her 'Die Mameh' and indeed she was a devoted mother to them all. She also had an extremely positive influence on the larger Jewish community in Warsaw. The fact that many of its former leaders had deserted the city, and she had chosen to return, greatly impressed the Jewish community workers.57

Frumka was sent by the underground to Bedzin-Sosnowiec, twenty miles west of Krakow in the fall of 1942 to organize the local defense there. She rejected a request from her fellow underground members to attempt an escape to Palestine and then bring evidence of the Final Solution to the world. Frumka feared that fleeing Poland would be interpreted as an attempt to save herself and abandon her people. So she stayed. She died at Bedzin-Sosnowiec during the ZOB uprising in defense of the bunkers in August of 1943. She was 29.

© Copyright Judy Cohen, 2002.
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