Haika (Chaja) Grosman (1919-1993), Zionist activist and Jewish underground leader in Bialystok during World War II. Born into a Zionist household in Bialystok, Grosman was involved from a young age in the Hashomer Hatzair Zionist youth movement. After finishing high school, Haika was accepted to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Through family connections, she obtained an immigration certificate to Palestine. By this time, however, she was already a member of the central committee of the Hashomer movement, and was asked to stay in Poland to organize the movement's activities in the Brisk region. At the outbreak of World War II, she moved to Vilna, where she helped to organize Zionist youth groups who were congregating in the city. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Grosman returned to Bialystok where she helped to organize the ghetto underground and worked to establish links to Polish resistance groups in the area. With the help of Mordechai Tennenbaum from the Hehalutz central committee, she was able to obtain false identification papers in the name of Halina Woronywicz. During this period Grosman became part of a cell known as "Anti-fascist Bialystok," that consisted of six Jewish women who could pass as Poles. The other members of the cell were Marila Ruziecka, Liza Czapnik, Hasya Belicka, Ana Rud and Bronka Winick. The women served as liaisons and couriers between several ghettos. They made contacts, conveyed information, smuggled arms and escorted Jews from the ghettos to partisan units in the forests. Grosman participated in the Bialystok ghetto revolt that took place on August 16, 1943 during the liquidation of the ghetto. Afterwards she helped to organize hiding places for those who were able to escape. For the next year, Grosman cultivated her ties to the Soviet partisans in the Bialystok region, and for a time lived among them in the forests. Grosman's father was shot by the Germans and her mother perished in the Majdanek concentration camp. Two sisters survived, and her brother disappeared after being conscripted into the Red Army. After the war, Grosman became a member of the Central Committee of Polish Jews and was sent as a delegate to the World Zionist Congress in London (1945) and Basel (1946). She was also actively involved in the Bricha and Aliya Bet movements in Poland, devoting herself to the assistance of Jews seeking to reach Palestine. In May 1948 Grosman immigrated to the newly declared State of Israel on board the SS Providence. She settled in Kibbutz Evron and soon was wed to her former Hashomer youth movement leader, Meir Orkin, who had immigrated from Bialystok in 1936. They had two children, Leah and Yosefa. In 1950 Grosman was elected head of the Ga'aton Regional Council, and in 1969 to the Israeli Knesset, where she served until 1981.
[Sources: Encyclopedia of the Holocaust; "Haika Grosman" web site, www.haika.org.il/shomer-eng.html]
Meir Orkin is the son of Kalman and Leiba Orkin and the brother of Malka Orkin. His father was a tailor in Bialystok. Meir was a leader of the Hashomer Hatzair Zionist youth movement in Bialystok before immigrating to Palestine in 1936. After the war he married his childhood friend, Haika Grosman.