Malka / Mala Zimetbaum

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Malka / Mala Zimetbaum

Also Known As: "Mala", "Mala the Belgian"
Birthdate: (26)
Birthplace: Brzesko, Poland
Death: August 22, 1944 (26)
Oswiecim, Oświęcim County, Malopolskie, Poland (Suicide)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Pinkas Zimetbaum and Chaya Zimetbaum
Fiancée of Edward "Edek" Galiński
Sister of Gitla Zimetbaum; <private> Zimetbaum; Marjem Zimetbaum; Salomon Rubin Zimetbaum and Etush Zimetbaum

Occupation: Messenger, Translator
Managed by: Pam Karp
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Malka / Mala Zimetbaum

Mala Zimetbaum was born in 1922 in Poland. She and a friend Adek Galinski escaped from Auschwitz in 1944.

Both committed suicide to escape being executed.

Mala slit her wrists.

Source : The Holocaust - Martin Glbert

"The love of Edek Galinski and Malka Zimetbaum became camp legend in Auschwitz ... They gave us hope." -- Camp survivor Renee Rendorf of Brussels

From MALA AND EDEK: TRAGIC CAMP LOVE Oś—Oświęcim, People, History, Culture magazine

The love story of two Auschwitz prisoners, Mala Zimetbaum, a Jew, and Edward Galiński, a Pole, along with their bold escape, makes up one of the most moving chapters in the history of the camp—and also one of the most tragic. It seemed as if love would win out and their effort to break free of the world of Auschwitz would succeed. Things turned out differently. They were caught and forced to return to the camp. They were executed 65 years ago, on August 22, 1944.


From Mala - A Fragment of a Life by Lorenz Sichelschmidt

She was an ordinary person. Her way of life, her way through life, and ultimately her death, correspond to that of millions of European Jews during the Holocaust. Additionally she was an extraordinary individual. Her courage, dignity, and pride, her unique way of preserving human qualities in the face of terror within the barbed-wire fences of Auschwitz distinguish her from millions of her contemporaries.

Today Auschwitz survivors regularly gather to remember Mala, there is a plaque on the house her family lived in in Antwerp, a scholarship has been named in her honor, and a B'nai B'rith lodge has been named for her. 

From Wikipedia

After World War II, little is known of the surviving members of the Zimetbaum Hartman family. Zimetbaum's siblings, Gitla, Marjem and Salomon Rubin, survived the Nazi Holocaust. It is also known that Gitla migrated to and died in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and that her direct descendants are all aware of Zimetbaum's legacy.

The official testimony of Mrs Raya Kagan,] delivered on June 8, 1961, during Session 70 in the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem.

"Q. What happened to her in the end? "A. Eventually they brought her to Birkenau, they held a major roll-call, and Mandel, the Schutzlagerfuehrerin (leader of the protective camp), Marie Mandel, made a speech and demanded a spectacular and exemplary punishment for her. Mala had succeeded in placing a razor blade in her sleeve and, at the time of the roll-call, she cut open her veins. The the SS man went up to her and began mocking and cursing her. Then, with a hand covered in blood, she slapped his cheek and - again, this may be a legend - she said to him: "I shall die as a heroine, and you will die like a dog." After that, she was taken, in this very terrible state, to the Revier, and in the evening she was put on a cart and taken to the crematorium."

This is the immigration file of the ZIMETBAUM family in Antwerp, including photos of Pinkas and Chaya Zimetbaum. Page 52-58:;i...

Some facts from the immigration file:

  • 1857: Berish HARTMAN was born about 1857 in Brzesko, Poland. In 1928 he lived at Lowicz 3 (street) in Kraków, his wife Jochevet had died before 1928.
  • 1905: Pinkas ZIMETBAUM and Chaya SCHMELZER married on July 5, 1905 in Brzesko, Poland.
  • 1926: Before November 1926 Pinkas ZIMETBAUM and Chaya SCHMELZER lived at Breite Strasse 38, Ludwigshafen, Germany.
  • 1926: The ZIMETBAUM family arrived in Belgium on November 17, 1926
  • 1926-1928: The ZIMETBAUM family lived at Van der Meydenstraat 16, Borgerhout (Antwerp) from November 17, 1926 to March 9, 1928.
  • 1928: The ZIMETBAUM family lived at Grote Beerstraat 64, Zurenborg (Antwerp) since March 9, 1928. They rented 2 rooms for 200 Belgian Franks per month.
  • 1928: Salomon Rubin CYMETBAUM lived at Kroonstraat 96, Borgerhout (Antwerp) since March 13, 1928.
  • 1929-1930: Gitla ZIMETBAUM was a hair dresser. she lived with her parents at Grote Beerstraat 64, Zurenborg (Antwerp)
  • Pinkas ZIMETBAUM was blind (!)
  • Pinkas ZIMETBAUM was listed as "koopman" (merchant/dealer) but he didn't have an income.
  • Chaya SCHMELZER was selling knitwear
  • Pinkas and Chaya were financially supported by their son Salomon

This is an excerpt from Lorenz Sichelschmidt's book:

  • Late 1940 Malka ZIMETBAUM was engaged to another man before she was deported, his name was Charles or Karel SAND, born on November 23, 1920.
  • 1940 Malka ZIMETBAUM and her parents lived at Marinisstraat 7, Borgerhout (Antwerp) in 1940. There is a memorial plaque at the wall of this house:
  • Translation: Dedicated to Mala ZIMETBAUM

Symbol of Solidarity

On the 22nd of August 1944 In Auschwitz Murdered by the Nazis

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Malka / Mala Zimetbaum's Timeline

January 26, 1918
Brzesko, Poland
August 22, 1944
Age 26
Oswiecim, Oświęcim County, Malopolskie, Poland