Zivia Lubetkin

Zivia Lubetkin
Born 1914
Died 1976
Nationality Polish, Israeli
Known for One of the leaders of the Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa (Jewish Combat Organization), participant in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Warsaw Uprising

Zivia Lubetkin (Polish: Cywia Lubetkin IPA: [ˈt͡sɨvja luˈbɛtkʲin], Hebrew: צביה לובטקין‎, nom de guerre: Celina; 1914–1976) was one of the leaders of the Jewish underground in Nazi-occupied Warsaw and the only woman on the High Command of the resistance group Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa (ŻOB).



Pre-World War II

She was born in Poland in Byteń near Słonim (now in Belarus). She joined the Labor Zionist Movement at an early age. In her late teens she joined the Zionist youth movement Dror, and in 1938 became a member of its Executive Council. After Nazi Germany and later the Soviet Union invaded Poland in September 1939 she made a perilous journey from the Soviet occupied part of the country to Warsaw to join the underground there.

World War II

In 1942, Lubetkin helped found the left-wing Zionist Anti-Fascist Bloc. She also, as one of the founders of the ŻOB, served on the Warsaw Jewish community's political council, the Jewish National Committee (Żydowska Komitet Narodowy; ŻKN), and also served on the Coordinating Committee, an umbrella organization comprising the ŻKN and the non-Zionist General Jewish Labour Bund (Bund), that sponsored the ŻOB. During her years of underground activities, the name "Cywia" became the code word for Poland in letters sent by various resistance groups both within and outside of the Warsaw Ghetto. She was one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and one of only 34 fighters to survive the war. After leading her group of surviving fighters through the sewers of Warsaw with the aid of Simcha "Kazik" Rotem in the final days of the ghetto uprising (on May 10, 1943), she continued her resistance activities in the rest of Warsaw outside the ghetto. She took part in the Polish Warsaw Uprising in 1944.

Postwar life

Following the Second World War, Lubetkin was active in the Holocaust survivors community in Europe, and helped organize the Beriha, an organization staffed by operatives who helped Eastern and Central European Jews cross borders en route to Mandate Palestine by illegal immigration channels. She herself immigrated to Mandate Palestine in 1946. She married Yitzhak Zuckerman, the ŻOB commander, and they, along with other surviving ghetto fighters and partisans founded Kibbutz Lohamey ha-Geta'ot and the Ghetto Fighters' House museum located on its grounds. In 1961, she testified at the trial of captured Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.

She died in 1976. Her granddaughter, Roni Zuckerman, became the Israeli Air Force's first female fighter pilot in 2001.


  • Lubetkin, Ziviah. (sic) Die letzten Tage des Warschauer Gettos. pp. 47, illus. Berlin: VVN-Verlag, 1949 (from: Commentary (magazine) , New York. Also in: Neue Auslese. ed. Alliierter Informationsdienst, Berlin, no. 1, 1948, p. 1 - 13
  • Lubetkin, Zivia. Aharonim `al ha-homah. (Ein Harod, 1946/47)
  • Lubetkin, Zivia. Bi-yemei kilayon va-mered. pp. 89. Tel-Aviv, 1953
  • Lubetkin, Zivia. In the days of destruction and revolt. [translated from the Hebrew by Ishai Tubbin; revised by Yehiel Yanay; biographical index by Yitzhak Zuckerman; biographical index translated by Debby Garber]. Pp. 338, illus. Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad Pub. House: Am Oved Pub. House, 1981


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