Regina Jonas was born in Berlin, Germany in 1902. After studying to become a teacher, she decided she wanted to devote her work on Jewish studies and enrolled at the Academy for the Science of Judaism. She studied with scholars and religious leaders, and graduated as an Academic Teacher of Religion.
Jonas knew she wanted to be a rabbi. The research from her graduating thesis concluded that a woman could become a rabbi. Unfortunately, the Jewish institutions did not agree, and refused to ordain her.
It wasn't until December 27th, 1935 that Regina Jonas was ordained as the first female rabbi by the Liberal Rabbis' Association. Until then, other women had previously worked as rabbis, but were never actually ordained.
In 1942, Jonas was deported to Theresienstadt, where she was able to continue her work and provide assistance, guidance, and support to arriving Jews. She was taken to Auschwitz, where she died two years later.
Jonas' story was only uncovered in the early 1990s, thanks to research led by a lecturer who eventually traveled to Germany, to dig into the newly available archives in East Berlin.