The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos

Category: Book
By (author): Batalion, Judy
  HISTORY / Holocaust
  HISTORY / Military / World War II
  HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
  HISTORY / Women
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: August 2022
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 592
Size: 8.00in x 5.31in x 1.00in
Our Price:
$ 19.99
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*


Also on the USA Today, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Globe and Mail, Publishers Weekly, and Indie bestseller lists.

One of the most important stories of World War II, already optioned by Steven Spielberg for a major motion picture: a spectacular, searing history that brings to light the extraordinary accomplishments of brave Jewish women who became resistance fighters-a group of unknown heroes whose exploits have never been chronicled in full, until now.

Witnesses to the brutal murder of their families and neighbors and the violent destruction of their communities, a cadre of Jewish women in Poland-some still in their teens-helped transform the Jewish youth groups into resistance cells to fight the Nazis. With courage, guile, and nerves of steel, these "ghetto girls" paid off Gestapo guards, hid revolvers in loaves of bread and jars of marmalade, and helped build systems of underground bunkers. They flirted with German soldiers, bribed them with wine, whiskey, and home cooking, used their Aryan looks to seduce them, and shot and killed them. They bombed German train lines and blew up a town's water supply. They also nursed the sick, taught children, and hid families.

Yet the exploits of these courageous resistance fighters have remained virtually unknown.

As propulsive and thrilling as Hidden Figures, In the Garden of Beasts, and Band of Brothers, The Light of Days at last tells the true story of these incredible women whose courageous yet little-known feats have been eclipsed by time. Judy Batalion-the granddaughter of Polish Holocaust survivors-takes us back to 1939 and introduces us to Renia Kukielka, a weapons smuggler and messenger who risked death traveling across occupied Poland on foot and by train. Joining Renia are other women who served as couriers, armed fighters, intelligence agents, and saboteurs, all who put their lives in mortal danger to carry out their missions. Batalion follows these women through the savage destruction of the ghettos, arrest and internment in Gestapo prisons and concentration camps, and for a lucky few-like Renia, who orchestrated her own audacious escape from a brutal Nazi jail-into the late 20th century and beyond.

Powerful and inspiring, featuring twenty black-and-white photographs, The Light of Days is an unforgettable true tale of war, the fight for freedom, exceptional bravery, female friendship, and survival in the face of staggering odds.  

Review Quote*"Pulses with pride and rage."
Review Quote*"Well-researched and riveting."
Review Quote*"Amazing…both a profoundly moving and breathtaking read." 
Review Quote*"Written with passion…Batalion's research is prodigious, and her dedication to her story obvious and moving."
Review Quote*"Gripping, haunting and superbly told...Judy Batalion brings to light half-forgotten tales of astounding courage." 
Review Quote*Brilliantly researched...a grand celebration of the female spirit."
Review Quote*"Thrilling, devastating... tells of an underground network of young Jewish women in Poland who resisted the Nazis by engaging in smuggling, sabotage, and even armed defense. Their courageous deeds, largely forgotten until now, are astounding."
Review Quote*"Hard to put down…The Light of Days is not a story but a multi-layered epic, one that rewrites the Holocaust. Drama abounds and the characters are deeply engaging. Required reading."
Review Quote*"The Light of Days rescues a long-neglected aspect of history from oblivion, and puts paid to the idea of Jewish, especially female, passivity during the Holocaust. It is uncompromising, written with passion--and it preserves truly significant knowledge."