This is long but worth the read. 

Vladka Meed, who with her flawless Polish and Aryan good looks was able to smuggle pistols, gasoline for firebombs and even dynamite to the Jewish fighters inside the Warsaw Ghetto, and who after the war became an impassioned leader in the national effort to educate children about the Holocaust, died Wednesday in Phoenix. She was 90.
…Mrs. Meed’s resistance work started with the deportation of 265,000 Jews from Warsaw to the Treblinka death camp and continued after the uprising by the ghetto’s besieged remnants. She told her story in Yiddish in her 1948 book, “On Both Sides of the Wall,” one of the first published eyewitness accounts. It was translated into English, German and at least three other languages, is still in print, and was a central source of the 2001 television movie “Uprising.”
When the Germans walled off a portion of Warsaw, she was still a teenager. Working as a machine operator sewing Nazi uniforms, she grew increasingly dejected watching the deportations in 1942 that included her mother, a 13-year-old brother and a married sister. But she responded resourcefully to a call for armed resistance.
With her brownish hair and prominent cheekbones, she could pose as a gentile, so the Jewish underground asked her to live on the Christian side of the wall and become a courier. Born Feigele Peltel on Dec. 29, 1921, she took the Polish nickname Vladka.
Women were often preferred as couriers, she said in a 1983 interview. “If a man in the underground went on a mission, he could be recognized as a Jew by his circumcision,” she said. “A woman’s body might be searched, but it could not give that information.”
She was soon buying bullets, pistols, even dynamite, and carrying them, as well as money and essential information, to the Jewish side of the wall. Sometimes she became part of a Polish ghetto work detail, sometimes she bribed her way across and sometimes she clambered over the wall. With death all but certain, she once recalled, “there was very little left to fear.”
Several times, she smuggled Jewish children out of the ghetto and into the homes of sympathetic Christian families. According to Michael Berenbaum, a leading Holocaust scholar, she helped pass on to the Polish underground the startling news about Treblinka — that trains filled with Jews were returning empty, that no food was being shipped and that there was an omnipresent stench of corpses.
The ghetto uprising, in which lightly armed young fighters took on the Nazis by firing from hide-outs in buildings and sewers, began in January 1943 and continued for four months, though Mrs. Meed did not take part in the final battle in April. She had been ordered to remain outside the walls for future missions, and as the rebellion ended she saw the smoke billowing from the ghetto while pretending to enjoy a carousel ride.

What a life. There’s more at the New York Times.

This is long but worth the read. 

Vladka Meed, who with her flawless Polish and Aryan good looks was able to smuggle pistols, gasoline for firebombs and even dynamite to the Jewish fighters inside the Warsaw Ghetto, and who after the war became an impassioned leader in the national effort to educate children about the Holocaust, died Wednesday in Phoenix. She was 90.

Mrs. Meed’s resistance work started with the deportation of 265,000 Jews from Warsaw to the Treblinka death camp and continued after the uprising by the ghetto’s besieged remnants. She told her story in Yiddish in her 1948 book, “On Both Sides of the Wall,” one of the first published eyewitness accounts. It was translated into English, German and at least three other languages, is still in print, and was a central source of the 2001 television movie “Uprising.”

When the Germans walled off a portion of Warsaw, she was still a teenager. Working as a machine operator sewing Nazi uniforms, she grew increasingly dejected watching the deportations in 1942 that included her mother, a 13-year-old brother and a married sister. But she responded resourcefully to a call for armed resistance.

With her brownish hair and prominent cheekbones, she could pose as a gentile, so the Jewish underground asked her to live on the Christian side of the wall and become a courier. Born Feigele Peltel on Dec. 29, 1921, she took the Polish nickname Vladka.

Women were often preferred as couriers, she said in a 1983 interview. “If a man in the underground went on a mission, he could be recognized as a Jew by his circumcision,” she said. “A woman’s body might be searched, but it could not give that information.”

She was soon buying bullets, pistols, even dynamite, and carrying them, as well as money and essential information, to the Jewish side of the wall. Sometimes she became part of a Polish ghetto work detail, sometimes she bribed her way across and sometimes she clambered over the wall. With death all but certain, she once recalled, “there was very little left to fear.”

Several times, she smuggled Jewish children out of the ghetto and into the homes of sympathetic Christian families. According to Michael Berenbaum, a leading Holocaust scholar, she helped pass on to the Polish underground the startling news about Treblinka — that trains filled with Jews were returning empty, that no food was being shipped and that there was an omnipresent stench of corpses.

The ghetto uprising, in which lightly armed young fighters took on the Nazis by firing from hide-outs in buildings and sewers, began in January 1943 and continued for four months, though Mrs. Meed did not take part in the final battle in April. She had been ordered to remain outside the walls for future missions, and as the rebellion ended she saw the smoke billowing from the ghetto while pretending to enjoy a carousel ride.

What a life. There’s more at the New York Times.

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