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Paulette Fink papers

Identifier: umja0118

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of brochures related to Israel and the Middle East, interviews and biographical information on Paulette Fink, materials from the Women's division of the Minneapolis Federation for Jewish Service, board and administrative materials from the United Jewish Appeal, newsclippings and newsletters, and materials related to I.D Fink.


  • 1911-1997


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Paulette (Weil) Fink was born in Mulhouse, Alsace in 1911 and recieved her education at the Sorbonne. She married her first husband, Yves Oppert, in 1934 and had two daughters, Nadine Oppert Bicher and Francelyne Oppert Lurie in 1935 and 1939. When Germany invaded France in 1940, the family was living in Paris. Yves served as a lieutenant in the French Army and was taken prisoner during the Battle of France, but managed to escape. Paulette also served on the front line as a Red Cross nurse. When France fell to Germany, Paulette and Yves escaped to the village of Izieux, in the unoccupied zone of France under the new Vichy regime. There, they joined the French Resistance to sabotage the German “war machine” and collaborated with a network of Catholic and Protestant volunteers to hide, and save Jewish orphans. Yves was caught by the French Militia in Étercy, where he was imprisoned and tortured to death in 1944. After the death of her husband, Paulette continued her work in the resistance and began working with the Jewish Brigade. When the war was over, she helped smuggle refugees into Palestine and worked with the Joint Distribution Committee to establish eleven orphanages, helping to provide housing for child survivors of the Holocaust.

Paulette traveled to the United States with the Joint Distribution Committee to raise money for the orphanages and Palestine in 1945. She would return to the United States in 1948 where she spoke at luncheons and dinners across the country, and on radio and television programs to raise money for the new state of Israel. In 1954, she married Israel "Iz" Fink, a Minneapolis businessman she met on one of her speaking tours. Iz would serve as president of the Jewish Federation in Minneapolis and on the National Board Campaign of the United Jewish Appeal. Paulette would go on to become national chair of the United Jewish Appeal National Women's Division and served on its Executive Comittee. She was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the United Israel Appeal and of the Board of Directors of JDC. In 2005, Paulette passed away at the age of 94 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, survived by her two daughters, eight grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.


1.15 Cubic Feet (1 Paige box)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of materials and papers related to Paulette Fink, a politically active Minnesotan Jew who fled her native France during World War II.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest by Paulette Fink in 1990.
Paulette Fink papers, 1911-1997
Erin Smerage
August 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Upper Midwest Jewish Archives Collecting Area