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THE LIGHT OF DAYS: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghetto, by Judy Batalion

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 and taught children.

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

As propulsive and thrilling as Hidden Figures, In the Garden of Beasts, Band of Brothers, and A Train in Winter, 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, 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.

The Light of Days by Judy Batalion book cover

“Well-researched and riveting.”

Wall Street Journal

“Pulses with both rage and pride”

New York Times

“Groundbreaking… a significant contribution to Holocaust history”

History Today

“Written with passion…Batalion’s research is prodigious, and her dedication to her story obvious and moving.”

Boston Globe

“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.

Times Literary Supplement

“Gripping, haunting and superbly told…Judy Batalion brings to light half-forgotten tales of astounding courage.”

The Economist

“Brilliantly researched…a grand celebration of the female spirit.”

Los Angeles Review of Books
In conversation about “The Light of Days” with Judy Batalion & Molly Crabapple, via Museum of Jewish Heritage

Written with passion…Batalion’s research is prodigious, and her dedication to her story obvious and moving.

Boston Globe

“A soaring and harrowing account… [the women’s} examples of courage add a dimension to our understanding of the Holocaust and serve to inspire and empower us. “

Helene Cohen Bludman, Reform Judaism

“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.”

The Jerusalem Post

“Until now…the heroic girls were largely nameless and forgotten. But in The Light of Days, Batalion rectifies this historical wrong.”

Jewish Review of Books

Daughters of the Resistance – Book

$35

By Judy Batalion 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…

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