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The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews
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The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  2,939 Ratings  ·  206 Reviews
The inspiring and harrowing true story of three brothers who established a hidden base camp in the Belorussian forest eluding the Nazi's extensive efforts to capture them. In July 1944, after two and a half years in the woods, more than one thousand Jewish men, women and children, emerged from the woods triumphant and alive.

It is one of the most remarkable dramas of World
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 15th 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published July 1st 2003)
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Teresa Mayfield
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
There is no doubt that this is a compelling story, but perhaps not for the reasons you might expect. These brothers were indeed heroes to some, but what of the several Jews summarily executed by them for not following them unquestionably? To those people and their families, these men were perhaps no better than the Nazis. This book did nothing but make me sad. Sad to see those who would aspire to saving their own so quickly turn to the tactics of their enemies in order to keep the order they des ...more
Joe Wisniewski
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I have to say that I am quite embarrassed as to not fully appreciating the breadth and scope of the Holocaust atrocities. I wasn't aware of the scope of brutality as it related to extended efforts the Nazi regime took to attempt Jewish extermination in the relative far reaches of Nazi-occupied USSR. This occurred all the way into 1943, only ceasing as the Nazi' were routed by the Red Army in their retreat back to Germany from the eastern front.

I especially appreciated Duffy's apparently slavish
Susan Bennett
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves history
Recommended to Susan by: Huffington Post
I'm a big fan of narrative history and this book reminded me of why I love that genre so much. The subtitle explains what the book is about and it always amazes me to discover the number of WWII heroes previously unknown to me. The narrative is coherent and fast paced. The description of the German atrocities in the Belarus region is unflinchingly horrific. The book covers stories of individual and collective courage, but also is a lesson in choices when the regular behavior norms and governance ...more
Apr 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book really does read like a non-fiction thriller. It was life affirming and heart breaking at the same time. Given the knowledge of where the brothers settled in the later years of their lives, reaffirms my awe and wonder at how sometimes hidden among ordinary neighborhood, hidden behind ordinary jobs, there might just be an incredible hero. What I find wonderful about Duffy's account is that while some parts may be, out of admiration, recounted slightly fonder than they actually occurred, ...more
Lewis Weinstein
This is a great story ... but probably not one I can use in my novel (the sequel to A FLOOD OF EVIL)
Having written so many reviews today, I am getting lazy and sloppy. Let me just summarize by saying that I really liked this book b/c it showed how some Jews fought against the Nazis. So many just say they dumbly put themselves on trains to the concentration camps. THAT IS FALSE! Their active attempts to fight against all odds must be made known. This book helps make clear the truth. Jews did fight for their ives. Secondly, Tuvia was a fighter. To be that you cannot at the same time expect him t ...more
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, 2010, politics
An amazing true story of the Bielski Brothers during the Nazi invasion of Belorus. Tuvia Bielski hd a vision of saving Jews from the Nazis and he carried it out come hell or high water. In spite of all odds he kept bringing in refugees and providing a place for them. He said "We cannot sit in the bushes and wait until the wolf comes for us. We must send people into the ghetto to save Jews." Amazing.

It is heartbreaking to think of all those poor people had to do to survive. It is almost impossibl
Lisa Vegan
Jun 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want to read WW II survival/holocaust books
This was an ultimately satisfying and fascinating account. I’ve read a lot of holocaust books but how this could have happened was new to me. About forest partisans who literally lived in the forest, moving when necessary, in huge groups, right under the Nazi’s noses. Brought up a lot of conflicted feelings for me because these people were merciless and committed quite a bit of violence – and not just against the Nazis but anyone who they perceived as threatening their safety. I normally think o ...more
Jun 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The movie Defiance is based on the true story of the Bielski Brothers, amazing men who saved over 1000 Jewish people during WW2. The book was written in a very simple style--but it was informative and direct. These men were so brave and skillful--they faced so much opposition--the Nazis of course, but there were internal threats to their authority, and they were also incorporated into the Soviet partisan movement and had to answer to the Russians, empahsizing to them that they were saving Soviet ...more
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What I have come away with, after reading this book, is something I was not expecting when I started reading it. The reviews told me the book is written more like a thriller which happened to be a story of true events. I agree that the author did an impressive job of making a story about WWII so personal, engaging and thrilling.

But on top of that, I am overcome by what I am now aware of; the importance these brothers have for their Jewish history. WWII is a topic that can be found in many forms
Scott Rauland
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A well documented account of the heroic efforts of the Bielski brothers to save hundreds of Jewish residents from certain death in the ghettoes of Novogrudek, Lida and other cities in Belarus during WW II. The story was dramatized in the film "Defiance," starring Daniel Craig, but the author provides a great deal of additional detail about how the brothers sought to help Jews in the nearby ghettoes escape before it was too late and how they coped with the hardships of life in the forest and the ...more
John Anglis
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An easy to read, gripping journey of brothers trying to save their own. Written so the reader can literally put his or herself in the shoes of the Bielski brothers as they battle Nazis and their allies, starvation, sickness, the bitter cold, and each other. A story that leaves you wondering why it is you decide to complain about little things in life, after people have gone through this.
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Until I read this book I had never heard of the Bielski brothers but now, having finished the book I will never forget them.

The bravery, the suffering, the horror and devastation described in this well written and researched book is unlikely to leave you unmoved.
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Learned a lot about the Jews in Russia. Guess I never realized they were there. A lot I didn't know about history was in this book. These people were amazing at what they pulled off. They're strength & courage to do this was awe inspriing.
Saleh MoonWalker
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Onvan : The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews - Nevisande : Peter Duffy - ISBN : 60935537 - ISBN13 : 9780060935535 - Dar 336 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2003
Apr 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Really amazing story. Looked for this book after I saw a preview for a movie based on this story that came out last year. Never saw it. Always read the book. Moving account of survival.
מסמך היסטורי חשוב לכל אדם, נקרא במשך אחר צהריים אחד, בקלות
Sep 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Outlaws, Antifa, Anarchists, Partisans, Ambush, Saboteurs, Jews, Forest Dwellers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christina Sesok
I found this story absolutely amazing and inspirational. The three Bielski brothers managed to save the live of many Jews during the Holocaust while simultaneously creating a safe haven in the Belorussian forest and sabotaging the Nazis' attempts to carry out the Final Solution and conquest of Europe. I feel like these two sentences perfectly sum up how amazing the story of the Bielski brothers was, "Three men, brothers, saved as many Jews during World War II as Oskar Schindler, and organized a ...more
Daniel Stoltzfoos
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it
In my book, The Bielski Brothers, there are three brothers, Tuvia, Zus, and Asael. It describes their story and how they saved the lives of over twelve hundred Jews. The brothers provided a place for these Jews to live by building a small town in dense forest of the Naliboki Puscha. It also describes how instead of fleeing from the Germans they fought back with the little weapons they could obtain.
Since The Bielski Brothers is a nonfiction book it does not have a constant theme, but it is stil
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
What a great read! This book tells the amazing story of three Jewish brothers and their struggle to survive the Holocaust. These brothers saved more Jews from the Nazis then Oskar Schindler. This book serves as a good reminder of the anti-semitic tendencies of almost all of Europe. While the Holocaust was so extreme and evil, it didn't come out of nowhere. The family history of these brothers shows how the Jews had been fighting for survival for generations leading up to the Holocaust. This book ...more
Karlee Davidson
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was another book that I had watched the movie for long before I read the book. The movie was it's own emotional roller coaster and the book lived up to my expectations. It is a hard story to take in, and at the same time, it is a great and inspiring story. The book shows the opposite side of the story. Holocaust writers often write of their experiences or of other's in concentration camps but this takes us through the story of those who fought back against the Nazi's and stood their ground. ...more
Jun 10, 2012 rated it liked it
An intensely fact-focused book, The Bielski Brothers narrates the fantastic, nearly reality-defying story of the Jewish Bielski brothers and their heroic actions during World War II. Unfortunately for the characters, the author who discovered their demeanors fails to qualify for the occupation of storyteller. Instead of telling a gripping tale, Duffy opts out of potential drama as he prefers to keep to the relative safety of fact; merely recounting what he had been told and read. Hence another v ...more
Feb 06, 2009 added it
This book is a very fascinating book, and the author wrote it well. He keeps you interested even through the parts that should be boring.
It blows me away that they could pull something that huge off (don't want to say anything that might ruin the story). One thing that did bother me about the author is that he kept using phrases like "Luck was on their side..." " And luck was with them..." right after a miracle would happen.The part that bothered me the most was near the end (don't worry I'm not
Meirav Rath
Jan 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Holocaust inthusiasts, history lovers
Duffy's had it easy; the story of the amazing miraculous work of the Bielski brothers is an easy subject to research (thanks to the brothers' work there were many survivors to tell their tale) and a light, relatively gore-free subject unlike many in the holocaust period. Duffy wastes no chance to make this already amazing story even greater by describing the era, deeds and people with a light artistic style.
This is a nice, easy to digest book about a very heavy time, and is aught to be read to
Oct 17, 2012 rated it liked it
This was a good book,making a harsh reality clear to me. I think I had romanticized the period somewhat, thinking of the bravery of those that survived and ignoring the brutality that was sometimes necessary to ensure that survival. It is a hard book to read but it leaves you wiser
Leah Goldschneider x
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A good combination of facts and story telling. This is a story I think everyone should read.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heroes! That, I finally realize, is my fascination with Holocaust stories. The people aren't military leasers, recounting their battles and victories. They aren't politicians expounding their philosopies. These stories are about ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times -- and acted to try to make a difference.

The Bielski brothers were Belerussians, overrun by Nazis during the invasion of the USSR. Their family ran a grain mill in a village, and they lived ordinary lives, except that
Florence Primrose
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
From 1941 to late 1944 three brothers from Belorussia led family members, other neighboring Jews, eventually those from ghettos through forests, through marshes to stay away from the Germans who were intent on killing every Jew.

Tuvia, the eldest, was the leader who exercised complete control. He was determined to save everyone from the eldest to the youngest. His brothers, Zus and Asael Beliski were excellent commanders of the fighting men in the group.

He led the large group,eventually over 120
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Peter Duffy is not the first person to tell the story of the Jewish partisans who hid in the forests of Poland, but his matter of fact narration of the horrors and his descriptions of the three brothers' personalities bring them to life. His descriptions of the inhuman mass murders of thousands upon thousands of Jewish people in the very early days of the war were shocking to me. I had read about mass graves, but did not know the killing occurred to this extent years before the death camps were ...more
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