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

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  140 ratings  ·  62 reviews
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
Hardcover, 560 pages
Published April 6th 2021 by William Morrow
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Jennifer Jordan is correct, advance copies may be sent to reviewers to generate buzz. Last year Goodreads had a giveaway for this title as well, from which I w…moreJordan is correct, advance copies may be sent to reviewers to generate buzz. Last year Goodreads had a giveaway for this title as well, from which I won my copy.(less)

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Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it

For the most part, war histories have been written by men, and brave women have been given short shrift. Judy Batalion helps correct this by telling the stories of Jewish women in Poland who resisted the Nazis during World War II. These women served as couriers, caretakers, and fighters, especially in Będzin, Krakow, Warsaw and other cities that had relatively large Jewish communities.

Jews in Warsaw before World War II

After the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, Jews in cities were relegated to cramp
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Light of Days is the first book I have encountered that tells the stories of heroic young Jewish women in Poland who fought the oppression and subsequent Holocaust of their people with fervor and an undeniable braveness that I cannot imagine. It is immediately evident how well researched this book was by Judy Batalion and how important is was to her to tell these stories with as much respect and accuracy as possible. Her forward and authors notes were my most favourite parts of the book. I a ...more
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was a bit of an information dump. I'm really glad that she did this research and brought these young women's stories to light, but there were so many characters and events that it was hard to keep track of them. It ended up feeling to me like I was reading a string of separate anecdotes. They were all gripping, but not as much as if I had been able to get attached to any of the characters. I think others will likely use this book as source material to write something that feels more li ...more
Elyse  Walters
Audiobook... read by Mozhan
Marno / synced with the ebook (own)

From 1941 on, no Jews or anyone living in Poland were allowed to leave, the ghetto.

“The Light of Days” is an unveiling of anonymous Jewish women who displayed acts of astonishing bravery.
We meet Renia Kukielka, not yet 20 years of age at the start — “neither an idealist or a revolutionary but a savvy middle-class girl who happened to find herself in a sudden and unrelenting nightmare. She rose to the occasion, fueled by an inner s
This story begins in 1939 Poland. World War II is underway. While German soldiers begin to overtake the country by torture, extermination, and relocation, teenager Renia Kukielkher enlists the help of girls and other youth from the Polish ghettos to form a resistance against the Nazi occupation. These truly harrowing and often graphic tales from the survivors themselves, is downright horrific and yet inspirational. For those who read Band of Brothers and A Woman of No Importance.
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this on goodreads First reads sweepstakes.

This book took me absolutely forever to read because it was so intense and heart-wrenching that I could only read 5 to 10 pages at a time. I knew that there were Jewish women who resisted the Nazis in WW2 and even were successful in causing damage to the nazi efforts, but this book was very informative as to how influential and effective these strong, resilient women were, and how very much impact they had on the efforts made to fight the genocide
Audrey Lawrence
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Awesome read and extremely well researched but a hard to read about all the deaths and suffering. Full review later. Definitely, a must read and I particularly enjoyed her write up of meeting survivors as she gathered material for her book.

See full review at:
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Intense. Well written. Well researched. Beyond just the more well-known activities of the Warsaw ghetto, the author shows how these brave women, traveled across borders, between occupied lands, connecting the pockets of Jewish civilians, forced into overcrowded ghettos across Poland and Lithuania. At first, focused on survival, they quickly realized there was no coming to terms with a machine bent on their death. Despite the difficulty in making connections with other Polish resistance groups, t ...more
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The more that I read of WW2 the more I can't understand the level of madness and craziness of these people?????

The Light of Days is the true story of the Jewish women in Poland who were a HUGE key in WW2 but as always being a woman our stories always get forgotten or they really don't matter to the world.. this is exactly the case of all these magnificent women who fought so hard to help and did many courageous things to help but they were never recognized or even known about. Friendship, loyalt
Feb 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Lately I have been reading a lot of nonfiction books on WWII. Most WWII books are written by men, and are about the accomplishments of men. The books I have been reading are about the contributions women made to support the war effort.

The Light of Days ( to be published in April 2021) is about the Jewish women, really teenagers, who took it upon themselves to help the resistance fight the Nazis. This book showed how determined and strong women are in the face of conflict. They were willing to r
Rochelle Hickey
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, giveaways
When I received The Light of Days I thought it was a historical fiction novel, but it’s actually non-fiction. I was really interested in the premise as I have read a good handful of historical fiction around the same subject. Unfortunately, after only 26 pages of a 400+ book I had to stop reading. It reads like a history text book—you can tell a ton of research went into writing this—my eyes skimming rather than absorbing. Then sporadically it tried to include character dialog and intention like ...more
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As Judy Batalion points out in her introduction and author’s notes, there are many reasons that the Jewish women who helped lead the resistance within the Polish ghettos are not well known. With The Light of Days, Batalion works to bring some of those courageous women back into the limelight. Extensive research and a strong narrative bring Renia Kukielka and her comrades vividly to life. Renia used her Aryan looks, bravery, and intelligence to work as a courier for the resistance based in the gh ...more
Feb 02, 2021 rated it liked it
2.5 stars

I guess when I requested this audiobook, I was expecting a flowing story with warmth and heroism. Although the author delivered on the latter, the former was lacking. The narrative was extremely well researched but read more like history than historical fiction. This may have been the intent of the author and I misunderstood what I was requesting. My rating is based solely on my enjoyment and does not reflect the quality of information and detailed accounts of how these brave Jewish wom
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Light of Days is an extremely well researched non-fiction book telling the stories of some of the women resistance fighters in Poland during WWII. It i a difficult read. The details of the atrocities committed by one human being to another are not spared by author Judy Batalion. It is also a difficult read because the material is very dense with historical information, much as a history text book would be written. This may have been complicated by the fact that I was listening to the audio b ...more
Shelby Ivie
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It took me weeks to read(listen) to this one because of the content. It was very heavy, and often heartwrenching and very difficult to listen to. But this is such an important topic that desperately needs light shed on it.
Trigger warnings: brutal killing, rape, abuse, violence, starvation, torture. 😥

"The Light of Days" follows the true stories of a group of courageous, ingenious, resourceful, heroic, Polish-passing Jewish women (many just girls, really) and the parts they played in defeating th
Carol Hughes
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is history that needs to be included in all grammer, high school and college history classes. Our young people need to know about the heroic actions (and deaths) of young women during WWII. I am a serious student of history and many of the stories told in this book are alluded to in the fictional books of Allan Furst but never seriously addressed in history books. Juby Batalion has done a remarkable job bringing the stories of Jewish women to the forefront where it is deserved.
Apr 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
I have a lot of thoughts and my first one is that I HATE the way this book was written, but I don’t want to dissuade other people from reading it because they definitely should. The author told the stories of different Jewish women who were in Polish ghettos and worked as resistance fighters. There were a few main characters that were followed throughout the story but many side stories about other women were placed randomly in the middle of chapters that completely interrupted the flow of the st ...more
Elizabeth Schroeder
[Thank you to William Morrow/HarperCollins for the free Advance Reader's Edition]

I am a strong believer in reading any and everything documenting the Holocaust. As we move farther away from the years during which these atrocities took place, survivors are almost gone or will have passed soon. A distressing rise in social conservatism and far right beliefs means Holocaust deniers are continuing to spread their lies. So I will start this book review by saying, it is worth reading.

At the same time,
Apr 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The more that I read of WW2 the more I can't understand the level of madness and craziness of these people?????

The Light of Days is the true story of the Jewish women in Poland who were a HUGE key in WW2 but as always being a woman our stories always get forgotten or they really don't matter to the world.. this is exactly the case of all these magnificent women who fought so hard to help and did many courageous things to help but they were never recognized or even known about. Friendship, loyalt
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of the audiobook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Light of Days chronicles the lives (and often, the tragic and courageous deaths) of the brave young Jewish women who tirelessly worked in secret to resist and fight back against the Nazis in World War II. I was fascinated to dive into this book because this is not a perspective I had ever read about before. The lives of women in history, in general, are not written about enough, and I’m always happy to see a n
Mary Vogelsong
Author Judy Batalion grew up in Canada and was educated in northeastern United States, but it wasn’t until she was living and working in London that she felt a pervasive rejection of her Jewish-ness. Her ethnicity and religion seemed offensive to those around her.
This set Batalion on a research quest to discover strong Jewish female role models. She stumbled across a book in Yiddish about Jewish women resistance workers in Poland during World War II. Some of the women actually fought alongside t
Jenna N
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Weaving together extensive research with engaging storytelling, “The Light of Days,” illuminates the underrepresented history of female Jewish resistance during World War II. Too often popular narratives around Holocaust histories and World War II minimize the experience of Jewish women to a state of defenseless victimhood, which Batalion rectifies by emphasizing the heroism and sheer nerve of female resistance fighters working in active rebellion against the Nazi Regime.

By taking the time to z
Cheryl Sokoloff
Apr 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Judy Batalion's The Light of Days delves into history of the “rise” of Jewish, female, resistance fighters in Poland.

These “girls” wore many different hats 🧢, from mail couriers to actual soldiers, fighting the Nazis (often face to face). If caught alive, they were literally, tortured.

During the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the “girls” were trapped in sewers, that the Nazis then flooded with poison gas, and then, with water up to their necks. That some of them survived, is mind boggling. Their miss
Apr 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Judy Batalion, in "The Light of Days," pays tribute to "Jewish women of Poland who resisted the Nazi regime." Most of their names have been forgotten. Their views and activities may not have jibed with the political outlook of those who wrote the history books; because the combatants were young women, they may have been considered less significant than their male counterparts; and these women did not seek aggrandizement. Instead, they let their actions speak for themselves. When the Nazis took o ...more
Carla Johnson-Hicks
I'm not sure if it was just me, but I had a hard time with this book. The author had done a lot of research on these heroic women, but there was too much in the book for me to really connect to the various stories. I found this book to be a bit of an information dump. I listened to the audiobook, which I think made it even harder. I had to go back and re-listen to some parts, which meant I had a tough time getting into the rhythm of the book.

Individually, each of the character's stories was gri
Zibby Owens
Apr 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The author started with a very personal introduction about her family history and the trauma that has been passed down through generations in her own family. The first chapter and the very last chapter were told from the author's perspective. Then at the end, she talks about her travels and research that showcases incredible Jewish history and what incredible women did, and what they went through.

She wrote, "I come from a family of Polish Jewish Holocaust survivors. My Bubbe Zelda, namesake to m
Carolina--Timber Oaks Little Library
This non-fiction honors the lives of the brave Polish Jewish women who fought in the resistance against the Nazis. It is a heart wrenching story that does not shy away from the soul crushing atrocities of the Holocaust. Judy Batalion has carefully researched and rendered the lives of incredible women forgotten by history.

I particularly appreciated the discussion of sexual violence and the complicated partner relationships women had to engage in for their safety. It is something that is not often
Apr 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Light of Days is an exceptionally well-researched non-fiction book about Jewish women in Poland and their innumerable contributions to the Nazi resistance movement during WWII. It is a heavy read in every way; there are lots of facts and details, and because of the subject matter, this book takes an emotional toll on the reader. Neither of those comments is negative, but if you're looking for a light historical-fiction read, this isn't it!

This is the first book about WWII of the many I have
emma (pagesofachilles)
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book was incredibly intense, compelling and well researched. I cannot even begin to imagine the hours of research Batalion put into this, it feels like a decade of work. From the get-go it was clear that this would be a hard-hitting historical non-fiction, and it did not pull any punches. It was gritty, heartbreaking, shocking but most importantly, moving. And Batalion tells the story of women who we've not heard much from in History.

This is the kind of book that every history buff should r
Jan 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful audiobook and offers the chance to learn some new things regarding the history of Jewish people being ostracized, ridiculed, looked down upon even before the WWII/Holocaust began.

This book is a detailed history, with some reading from letters, diaries, notes from various (approximately 20) women who were courageous enough to join the resistance no matter the cost. There is no dialogue between characters.

I highly recommend reading & thinking/talking about this book with othe
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