Miles Lerman and his wife Chris.
Oral History

Miles Lerman describes roles of women in the underground

Miles Lerman was a Holocaust survivor, partisan fighter in the forests of Poland, international leader in the cause of Holocaust remembrance, and a "founding father" of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


What I want to tell you is that the role of women in the underground was very necessary, and very important. Because first of all, if you -- if we needed to make contact with someone about negotiating a purchase of weapons, or about getting some medicine, or about getting, you know, someone who is very sick into a hospital, you know, we needed women to do that, because men were circumcised. If a man was caught in town, all they needed to do is ask him to drop his pants, and they knew that they have a Jew. Now, people like Leah, people blend -- in particular blonde women, blue-eyed women, well there were many of them, you know, and spoke a good peasant Polish, or Ukrainian, you know -- were precious because they could do these things much easier. So they played a very very important role, and with, you know, being on guard at night -- they were on guard at night. I have nothing but admiration for the conduct of women during the partisan years.

  • Carl Cox photography
  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum

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