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WWII Jewish courier Vladka Meed dies

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 23.11.2012 14:12
Vladka Meed, a courier who helped prepare the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against the Nazi German occupiers, has died in the US, aged 91.

Vladka Meed: Image Screenshot - I witness (usc)

Born Feigele Peltel in Warsaw in 1921, Meed was one of over 300,000 Polish Jews herded into the ghetto created by the Nazis in the city in the autumn of 1940.

Her father died from pneumonia and her mother, sister and brother were deported to the Treblinka death camp, where all three perished.

Meed joined the Jewish Combat Organization (ZOB) in 1942, and although her first language was Yiddish, her proficiency in Polish enabled her to come and go between the ghetto and the Aryan part of the city on false papers.

As the deportations to death camps continued she smuggled arms into the ghetto in preparation for an uprising.

She also recruited her future husband, Benjamin Miedzyrzecki, who was himself a fluent Polish speaker.

The doomed Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began on 19 April 1943. With the rising crushed on 16 May 1943, she and her future husband helped survivors find shelter in the city at large.

The couple emigrated to America in 1946, where they officially changed their names to Benjamin and Vladka Meed, and founded an import-export business.

Both were active in cultivating the memory of the fate of Europe's Jews during the war.

Among other projects, they helped co-organise the 1981 World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors held in Israel, a landmark event of its kind.

Vladka Meed's 1948 memoir On Both Sides of the Wall endures as a poignant account of Warsaw under Nazi occupation and the plight of the Jewish resistance.

Although a branch of the official Polish resistance was devoted to aiding Jews (Zegota), Meed claimed that most Poles were “indifferent” to the plight of the Jewish neighbours.

Benjamin Meed pre-deceased his wife, dying in 2006. The couple are survived by two children, Steven and Anna. (nh)

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