Vladka Meed (born Feigele Peltel, December 29, 1921 – November 21, 2012) was a member of Jewish resistance in Poland who famously smuggled dynamite into the Warsaw Ghetto, and also helped children escape out of the Ghetto.[1][2]

Vladka Meed
Vladka Meed in 2005
Vladka Meed in 2005
Born
Feigele Peltel

(1921-12-29)December 29, 1921
DiedNovember 21, 2012(2012-11-21) (aged 90)
Other namesFeigele Peltel Miedzyrzecki
Spouse(s)Benjamin Meed
Children2

Early lifeEdit

Meed was born in Praga, a district of Warsaw, Poland to Hanna Peltel (née Antosiewicz) and Shlomo Peltel. Her mother ran a haberdashery store, and her father worked in a leather factory.[3] Meed was the oldest child; she had two siblings, sister Henia and brother Chaim.

At 14, she joined Jewish Labor Bund and in 1942 the Jewish Combat Organization. Vladka's mother, brother, and sister died in Treblinka extermination camp. She was spared when they were taken because she worked in a German factory and had papers to show the Nazi's when they raided her town.[4] Vladka and her future husband Benjamin Meed pretended to be Aryans and helped organize the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. They married in 1945 and survived both the Holocaust and World War II. They arrived in the US in 1946 with $8 between them.

CareerEdit

In 1963, Vladka and her husband founded the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization (WAGRO).[5]

In 1981, she helped to organize the World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Jerusalem.[6]

In 1983, the Meeds founded the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.

Vladka Meed's book "On Both Sides of the Wall" was originally published in Yiddish in 1948 with a first hand account of her wartime experiences. The book was translated into English in 1972 (with a foreword by Elie Wiesel), and later into German, Polish and Japanese.[7] She also published in The Forward newspaper.

For nearly 20 years she organized a number of summer trips for teachers, educating them on the Holocaust, and the Jewish history of Warsaw. According to The New York Times obituary, she was a central source of the 2001 television film Uprising.[8]

Meed received a 1973 award of the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization, the 1989 Morim Award of the Jewish Teachers' Association, the 1993 Hadassah Henrietta Szold Award, and the 1995 Elie Wiesel Remembrance Award. She received an honorary degree from Hebrew Union College and Bar Ilan University.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

The couple married shortly after the war, and in May 1946 they immigrated on the second boat, the Marine Flasher,[10] that carried survivors to the United States.[7] Meed's husband worked in the import-export business. They had two children, Steven and Anna, both of whom became physicians.

Meed died from Alzheimer's disease at her daughter's home in Paradise Valley, Arizona on November 21, 2012 at the age of 90.

Works and publicationEdit

  • Miedzyrzecki, Feigele Peltel. Fun Beyde Zaytn Geto-Moyer. New York: Farlag Workmen's Circle of the Educational Committee of the Workmen's Circle, 1948. (Yiddish original)
  • Miedzyrzecki, Feigele Peltel. Fun beyde zaytn geto-moyer. Amherst: National Yiddish Book Center, 1999. OCLC 145734989 (Yiddish version, digitized)
  • Miedzyrzecki, Feigele Peltel. On Both Sides of the Wall: Memoirs from the Warsaw Ghetto ; Introduction by Elie Wiesel ; [Translated by Moshe Spiegel and Steven Meed]. Lohame Ha-Getaot: Ghetto Fighters' House, 1977. ISBN 978-0-896-04012-0 OCLC 5723402 (English translation)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Oster, Marcy (26 November 2012). "Jewish Resistance fighter Vladka Meed dies at 90". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  2. ^ Berenbaum, Michael (22 November 2012). "Vladka Meed, Warsaw Uprising Leader, Dies at 90". The Forward. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Portrait of Benjamin and Vladka Miedzyrzecki in Lodz soon after the war. - Collections Search - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum". collections.ushmm.org. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  4. ^ Dana, Visit the USC; Letters, David College of; Arts; Sciences. "Full-length Testimonies". USC Shoah Foundation. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  5. ^ "SS Totenkopf (Death's head) ring taken from an SS officer by a liberator and later given to a Holocaust survivor - Collections Search - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum". collections.ushmm.org. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  6. ^ "SS Totenkopf (Death's head) ring taken from an SS officer by a liberator and later given to a Holocaust survivor - Collections Search - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum". collections.ushmm.org. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  7. ^ a b Bernstein, Adam (22 November 2012). "Vladka Meed, courier for the Jewish resistance during WWII, dies at 90". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  8. ^ Berger, Joseph (24 November 2012). "Vladka Meed, Who Infiltrated Warsaw Ghetto, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  9. ^ Saidel, Rochelle G. (20 March 2009). "Vladka Meed, 1921-2012". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  10. ^ Green, David B. (29 December 2014). "This Day in Jewish History / A woman who smuggled guns in and children out of Warsaw Ghetto is born". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 May 2015.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit