Vladka Meed

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Vladka Meed (née 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]

Life and career[edit]

Vladka Meed was born in Praga, a district of Warsaw, Poland. 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.[3] 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.[4] In 1981, they 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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] She died from Alzheimer's disease at her daughter’s home in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

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