By Leslie Lindsay
In these history-changing times, one thing has remained hidden until now: the daring resistance efforts of Jewish women in the ghettos of the Nazi occupation. Now, let’s see the light.
~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|
ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~
Recently optioned by Stephen Spielberg
for a major motion picture
Memoirist Judy Batalion (White Walls) delivers a remarkable portrait of young Jewish women who fought in the Polish resistance during WWII in THE LIGHT OF DAYS (William Morrow, June 23 2020).
Drawing from “dozens of women’s memoirs” and “hundreds of testimonies,” Batalion documents an astonishing array of guerilla activities, including rescue missions for Jewish children trapped in Polish ghettos, assassinations of Nazi soldiers, bombings of German train lines, jailbreaks, weapons smuggling, and espionage missions.
These women were couriers, smugglers, spies, and also…inspirations.
“A vigorous narrative that draws on interviews, diaries, and other sources, Batalion delivers an objective view of past events that are too quickly being forgotten—and a story much in need of telling.”
–Kirkus Reviews, starred review
But be warned: no details are spared when recounting the horrific sexual violence and torture these women endured. Why weren’t these stories better known? There’s a reason for that, too. And its because of male chauvinism, survivor’s guilt, and the fact that the resistance movement’s military successes were “relatively miniscule.”
Seventy-five years after the end of WWII, these women can finally speak for themselves. Batalion weaves a vast amount of research material into a cohesive and dramatic narrative. This poignant history pays vivid tribute to “the breadth and scope of female courage.”
THE LIGHT OF DAYS is meticulously researched and grippingly told David-and-Goliath history that sheds light in these unsung heros.
Batalion first learned of the “ghetto girls” and their achievements when she stumbled upon a Yiddish-language memoir at the British Library more than a decade ago.
She dove into myraid Jewish archives and made numerous trips to Poland and Israel, painstakingly shifting through personal stories, surviving documents, and conducted personal interviews with families.
Here, she shares the hope and daring moments of these women’s lives as they sought to survive, to thrive, to resist.
- The “Ghetto Girls” tricked Gestapo into carrying their luggage filled with contraband.
- They hid revolvers in teddy bears, strapped contraband and cash to their chests.
- They flirted with Nazis and bought them off with wine, whiskey, and pastry…then shot and killed them.
- “Ghetto girls” disguised themselves as Catholics, smuggled sick youth, planned rescue operations, and masterminded escapes from Gestapo prisons
- These women organized a group of anti-Nazi Nazis and were bearers of the truth about what was happening to the Jews.
- Aren’t they heroic? Yes, they are.
- Do their stories deserve to be read? You bet!
Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Join me on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay #alwayswithabook #alwaysreading.
To learn more, connect with Judy Batalion, or to purchase a copy of THE LIGHT OF DAYS, please visit:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy Batalion is the author of WHITE WALLS: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess in Between. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Foward, Vogue, and many other publications. Judy has a BA in the History of Science from Harvard, and a PhD in the History of Art from the Coutauld Institute, University of London, and has worked as a museum curator and university lecturer. Born in Montreal, where she grew up speaking English, French, Hebrew, and Yiddish, she now lives in New York with her husband and three children.
ABOUT YOUR HOST:
Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012). Her work has been published in Pithead Chapel, Common Ground Review, Cleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The Waking, Brave Voices Literary Magazine, Manifest-Station, and others. Her art was featured on the cover of Up the Staircase Quarterly, poetry in Coffin Bell Journal, CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine, and other photography in Another Chicago Magazine. She has been awarded as one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.
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[Cover and author image courtesy of WilliamMorrow and used with permission. Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Join me on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay #alwayswithabook #alwaysreading]