Women of Valor: Partisans and Resistance Fighters
Historical Background | Women in the Ghettos | Women Who Organized Rescue Attempts Women as Partisans and Members of the Resistance | Women in the Concentration Camps Faith, Friendship, Art and Education in the Camps and Ghettos
Women in Holocaust Historiography

Women as Partisans and Members of the Resistance

Women played a vital role in the resistance and in the Partisan movement. Female Jewish freedom fighters could move more freely on both sides of the ghetto wall than their male comrades and were often used as couriers. They held significant positions in the Partisan movement and were among the organizers of many major uprisings. A significant number of rank and file female partisans and resistance fighters were in combat fighting units as well as in supporting units. There were also older women, mothers and children living in the partisan family camps who were non-combatants protected by the partisans.

Jewish freedom fighters were a fairly homogeneous group, tending to be young, fluent in the local language and culture, often Aryan in appearance, and aligned politically with Zionist youth organizations or with labour or communist movements. (See "Women of Valour: Biographical Sketches".) In Berlin, in the clandestine underground anti-Nazi BaumGruppe, composed mainly of Jews, there were several women: Marianne, the wife of Herbert Baum, and Edith Frankel and Lotte Rotholz, both of whom were arrested and sent to Auschwitz, where they died. In the French Underground, German-born Jewish activist Marianne Cohen (1924-44), saved scores of Jewish children by smuggling them out of occupied France to safety in Switzerland.

© Copyright Judy Cohen, 2001.
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