Despite multiple opportunities to flee to Palestine, Gisi Fischer Feischmann chose to work within the system in Nazi-held Europe to save as many Jews as she could. Fleischmann joined the Women’s International Zionist Organization in Slovakia in 1925 and quickly rose to become vice president, organizing social work and pioneer training, and networking with activists throughout Europe. In the 1930s her work extended to helping Jews flee to Palestine, and she sent her own daughters there in 1939 while staying to continue her work. In 1940, when Jewish organizations were banned and substituted with the Nazi-controlled Judenrat, she joined the Judenrat, handling social work and immigration issues. Her office soon became a hub for Judenrat personnel debating illegal activity, known as the Working Group. Through them, she led a controversial bribery operation to halt transports of Jews to concentration camps in return for $2 million, a sum she was not able to raise under the Allied embargo on sending money to Nazi Europe. Undeterred, she used her connections to fund Working Group efforts to save individual Jews and tried negotiating exchanges of Jewish children for German POWs. She was arrested multiple times and was finally sent on the last train to Auschwitz on October 17, 1944, where she was immediately executed.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Gisi Fleischmann." (Viewed on November 17, 2019) <https://qa.jwa.org/people/fleischmann-gisi>.
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