On 12 March 1912, Polish Jewish resistance activist Ala Gertner was born

Published on March 12, 2024, by Il Grido del Popolo©️

On 12 March 1912, Polish Jewish resistance activist Ala Gertner was born. While an enslaved labourer at a munitions factory under Nazi occupation, Gertner stole gunpowder which she smuggled to prisoners at Auschwitz Birkenau to build grenades. The resistance at the camp used these makeshift weapons, among others to destroy Crematorium IV and kill several SS officers. Gertner and three other women were executed for their role in the uprising in 1945.

Ala Gertner
Note to Sala Garncarz, in German, Bendsburg, Poland, December 10, 1941
NYPL, Dorot Jewish Division, Sala Garncarz Kischner Collection

Working for the Judenrat, Ala could send special things, like pajamas and a nightgown, to Sala. “Please write what else you need. I’m at your disposal any time. But maybe you’ll come home to me soon?! … Little one, I won’t wait any longer—I’ll have to get you out.” On a lighter note, Ala adds, “Yesterday I ironed my laundry but you’re better at it.”

Sources:

  1. https://stories.workingclasshistory.com/article/8415/ala-gertner-born
  2. http://web-static.nypl.org/exhibitions/sala/full/ak193.html