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Biography of Chavka Folman Raban



Chavka was born in 1924 in Kielce, Poland. She was the daughter of Rosalie and Abraham-Benjamin Folman and had two older brothers, Wolf and Mark (Mordechai), and another brother who died in infancy. Her childhood was spent in Warsaw where she lived on 34 Dzielna Street. Across for her parents’ home was the headquarters of He Chaluts youth movement and according to Chavka some of the main activists from that group were Frumka Plotnicka, Antek Zuckerman, Zivia Lubetkin. After the German occupation,  the building became the center of the developing underground movement  where the underground Gymnasia of the  Dror movement was created. Chavka was fortunate enough to be among the graduates of the first seminar of from the Gymnasium whose faculty included the historian Dr. Emmanuel Ringleblum and the poet Yitzhak Katznelson. In her book, “They are Still with Me,” Chavka wrote about the poet: “I still hear his strong, deep woice reading form the Prophets. Through his words he conveyed a meaning we had not previously known and which we didn't find in the books of the Bible."

Chavka joined the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB) and served as a liaison using false Polish papers. She brought weapons and information into the ghetto and through this the horrific information about what was happening at Treblinka. In late December 1942, she accompanied Antek Zuckerman to Krakow. On the day of their arrival, the Jewish Fighting Organization conducted a raid on the café “Zingaria,” a known recreational spot for German soldiers. In a clash with the Germans, Zuckerman was wounded but managed to return to Warsaw. Chavka, however, was caught and sent as a political prisoner to Auschwitz. Intuitively,  she did not reveal her true identity as a Jew. Towards the end of the war she was transferred with other prisoners to Ravensbrueck and then through a prisoner exchange was sent to Sweden. While there she learned that her two older brothers had been killed in the fighting against the Germans in Warsaw. She had already learned about the murder of her father in Treblinka before she was captured and sent to Auschwitz. She returned to Poland and found her mother. Chavka stayed in Poland for another two years working as an activist and representative of Dror with survivors.


Chavka as a courier during WWII
After the war, Chavka (center) serves as an activist for the Dror movement in Poland.  In the picture:  Antek Zuckerman (left) and Meir Blizowski (right), who was the emissary from Israel

Chavka immigrated to Israel in October 1947 and joined the founders of the Ghetto Fighter’s Kibbutz (Lohamei Ha'Getaot), many of whom were also members of the Dror movement, such as Zivia Lubetkin and Antek Zuckerman. She married Haskel (Ezekiel) Raban and together they had three children and twelve grandchildren. She joined the education department at the Ghetto Fighters House, accompanied teens on their Journey to Poland where she would give her testimony and would give the address of the partisans at the Ghetto Fighters' House Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day ceremony.  She had a unique and sharp personality. Visitors who encountered Chavka, either by listening to her testimony or guiding them through the museum or Poland, will carry the experience of meeting her with them forever. 
May her memory be blessed.