Women of Valor: Partisans and Resistance Fighters
Gisi Fleischmann : 1897-1944 | Haika Grossman : 1919- | Rozka Korczak-Marle : 1921-1988 Zivia Lubetkin : 1914-1976 | Franceska Mann : ?-1944 | Haviva Reik : 1914-1944
Zofia Yamaika : 1925-1943 | Mala Zimetbaum : 1922-1944

Biographical Sketches - Gisi Fleischmann: 1897-1944

Gisi was the leader of the Women's International Zionist Organization and of its "Working Group". As head of the Aliya section of the officially established Jewish Centre in Slovakia in 1940, Gisi Fleischmann used the activities of the Aliya section as a cover for other Zionist activities, with the aim of facilitating the emigration of Jews to Palestine. After the deportation of Slovakian Jewry began in March 1942, the Working Group tried to stop it by bribing Adolf Eichmann's representative in Slovakia, Dieter Wisliceny. During the period from October 1942 to the fall of 1944, when there were no deportations, the Working Group tried to implement the Europa Plan, in which the deportations would stop in exchange for goods and currency which would be transmitted to the Germans by Jews in free countries. Gisi Fleischmann tried to negotiate this plan with various Nazi officials, while at the same time continuing her efforts to rescue Jews by getting them out of occupied territory. The contacts of the Working Group with Zionist groups in Hungary, Switzerland and the United States served as ad-hoc leadeership and assistance to besieged Jews, and as a source of information about conditions in occupied territory.

In coordination with the Relief and Rescue Committee in Budapest, the Working Group concentrated its efforts in 1943 on providing escape routes for survivors of the Polish ghettos, particularly from Bochnia and the vicinity of Cracow. An "Underground Railroad" assisted the refugees in crossing the Carpathian mountains and smuggling over the Hungarian border. In Budapest the refugees were housed and were further assisted on their way to Palestine.

At the outbreak of the war, Gisi Fleischmann sent her own children to Palestine. On September 28, 1944, she and most members of the Working Group were arrested by the SS. At the beginning of October 1944 she was deported to Auschwitz in one of the last transports of the war, labelled "RU", "Ruckkehr unerwunscht", "return undesirable". She was gassed upon arrival.

© Copyright Judy Cohen, 2001.
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