Luba Blum-Bielicka (6 January 1905, Vilnius – 20 August 1973, Warsaw) – nurse, Tsukunft and Bund activist.
Luba Bielicka was born in Vilnius into an Orthodox Jewish family as one of eight children. She grew up in poverty and in the belief that, as a woman, she should not be educated. Thanks to her ambition and talent, she graduated from a Jewish junior high school in Vilnius. While still in junior high school, Luba joined the socialist youth organisation Tsukunft and became a very enthusiastic activist. In Tsukunft she met her future husband, Abraham (Abrasza) Blum.
After finishing junior high school, Luba decided to study nursing, which provoked opposition in her orthodox family. However, Luba got her own way, moved to Warsaw and started studying at the newly established School of Nursing at the Jewish Hospital run by Amelia Greenwald. She graduated with honours and was sent for further study to Belgium and France to learn how open healthcare works. She later passed on the knowledge she had gained to the nurses at the new Warsaw Health Centre on Świętojerska Street.
In Warsaw, Luba married Abrasza Blum and had two children, Wiktoria (Aviva; in 1932) and Aleksander (1936). The family lived at 9 Mylna Street. Abrasza, an engineer educated in Belgium, became involved with the Tsukunft and the Bund.
In August 1939, Luba was appointed director of the School of Nursing. After the outbreak of war, the Blums did not decide to leave Warsaw, as many other high-profile Bund activists did. Abrasza stayed there to supervise the organisation's underground activities.
After the establishment of the ghetto, Luba managed to move the School of Nursing to the ghetto area, to a building at 1 Mariańska Street, which before the war housed an office of the national health insurance system. Luba's children also moved in there. The Jewish School of Nursing was the only educational institution permitted by the Germans in the ghetto. The nurses supported the Bersohn and Bauman Children's Hospital, which operated nearby and was headed by Dr Anna Braude-Heller.
In August 1942, during a liquidation action, the Germans led all the nurses to Grzybowski Square. They were to be taken with the children from Janusz Korczak's orphanage to the Umschlagplatz and forced onto a train bound for Treblinka. Luba Blum-Bielicka managed to convince the Germans that nurses could still be of use in fighting epidemics. This saved her from being transported to Treblinka. The school was moved to a six-room flat at 33 Gęsia Street. Luba managed to save the nurses and patients once again during another action on 18 January 1943. Warned in advance of the danger, she hid the staff and patients of the school. Shortly afterwards, the school was liquidated and almost all the nurses were murdered.
Luba managed to escape, having previously made sure that her children (Wiktoria and Oleś) were in safe places on the so-called Aryan side. Abrasza stayed in the ghetto and fought in the ghetto uprising. He got out of the ghetto and was soon caught and murdered by the Gestapo.
While Luba's son Oleś was staying with Wanda and Tadeusz Borkowski in Warsaw's Żoliborz district, Luba and her daughter, under a false identity, found work as a childminder on the Rauszer family's estate in Grzegorzewice near Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. They stayed there until the beginning of May 1944, when the estate was attacked by partisans, resulting in the deaths of two members of the Rauszer family. Luba rescued the children and, together with other surviving family members, moved to Miedzeszyn. She continued to look after the Rauszers' children. She also managed to find Oleś and bring him to where she was staying. The three of them lived there until liberation.
In 1945, the Central Committee of Polish Jews offered Luba the directorship of an orphanage in Otwock. She settled there with her children. At the David Guzik Orphanage, Luba managed to create a warm and safe place for Jewish orphans who survived the time of Holocaust in various hiding places, in humiliation, fear and often starvation. In 1946, 130 orphans lived there.
The Otwock Orphanage was closed down in 1949. A year later, her daughter Wiktoria (Aviva) left Poland for Israel. Luba chose not to leave, recognising Poland as her homeland. She remained in the country with her son. She accepted a position as head of the School of Nursing at the Wola Hospital. In 1965, she was awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal for her many years of work and for her contribution to nursing.
She died in 1973. She was buried in the Jewish cemetery on Okopowa Street in Warsaw in the Bund's section, next to the symbolic grave of her husband, Abrasza Blum.
- J. S. Hertz, Abraham (Abrasza) Blum, [in:] Dojres Budnistn, n.d. 2, New York 1956, pp. 350-359.
- A. Kohen, A lebn unter szturems un churbn. Luba Bielicke Blum (Wilne 1905 - Warsze 1973), "Unzer Cajt", no. 1 1974, pp. 26-30.
- Luba Bielicka Blum, [in:] Luba Bielicka Blum | The Post-Holocaust Children's Home in Otwock (yadvashem.org) [accessed 6 February 2023].