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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

‘Original and compelling, an untold story of rare and captivating power’ Philippe Sands

‘A fascinating history about a little-known group who took on the Nazis . . . The individual tales of these courageous young women are remarkable’ Independent

‘Rescues a long-neglected aspect of history from oblivion, and puts paid to the idea of Jewish, and especially female, passivity during the Holocaust. It is uncompromising, written with passion – and it preserves truly significant knowledge. … Judy Batalion has uncovered a trove of unknown or forgotten information about the Holocaust of genuine import and impact.’ Eva Hoffman, TLS


One of the most important untold stories of World War II, The Light of Days is a soaring landmark history that brings to light the extraordinary accomplishments of brave Jewish women who inspired Poland’s Jewish youth groups to resist the Nazis.

Witnesses to the brutal murder of their families and the violent destruction of their communities, a cadre of Jewish women in Poland – some still in their teens – became the heart of a wide-ranging resistance network that fought the Nazis.

With courage, guile and nerves of steel, these ‘ghetto girls’ smuggled guns in loaves of bread and coded intelligence messages in their plaited hair. They helped build life-saving systems of underground bunkers and sustained thousands of Jews in safe hiding places. They bribed Gestapo guards with liquor, assassinated Nazis and sabotaged German supply lines.

The Light of Days at last reveals the real history of these incredible women whose courageous yet little-known feats have been eclipsed by time.

Reviews

Judy Batalion has written a fascinating history about a little-known group who took on the Nazis. In The Light of Days: Women Fighters of the Jewish Resistance (Virago), Batalion tells the untold story of the 'ghetto girls' who carried out espionage missions, bombed German train lines and assassinated Gestapo chiefs. The individual tales of these courageous young women are remarkable
Independent
Throughout the Second World War groups of Jewish women acted as couriers, smugglers, spies and partisans in the armed resistance to Nazi rule in Poland, but their stories have disappeared from that history. Judy Batalion's The Light of Days is a conscious attempt to restore that missing page . . . Batalion's book is passionately researched and written with the quick-cutting thrust of an action film
John Phipps, Irish Times
Original and compelling, an untold story of rare and captivating power
Philippe Sands
Resounding . . . a vigorous narrative that draws on interviews, diaries and other sources . . . a story much in need of telling
Kirkus Review
Groundbreaking . . . poignant . . . Batalion's collective biography provides a significant contribution to Holocaust history . . . Her welcome research and fluid storytelling fit a larger, still emerging historiography, which reveals the breadth of women's agency during armed conflicts and, as she writes: "A different version of the women-in-war story"
Julie Wheelwright, History Today
Rescues a long-neglected aspect of history from oblivion, and puts paid to the idea of Jewish, and especially female, passivity during the Holocaust. It is uncompromising, written with passion - and it preserves truly significant knowledge. ... Judy Batalion has uncovered a trove of unknown or forgotten information about the Holocaust of genuine import and impact.
Eva Hoffman, TLS
Judy Batalion brings to light half-forgotten tales of astounding courage
Economist
Remarkable and inspiring . . . thanks to Judy's meticulous research, these near century old stories of resistance in the face of overwhelming odds are about to be read once again
Daily Express
[A] powerful book . . . encapsulates the overwhelming problems faced by young Jews in Poland during wartime . . . The Light of Days conjures up a world we barely know about: of Batalion's heroines, Renia and Zivia, Tosia and Frumka, Bela and Chajke. The actions of these young women, carefully brought back to life by Batalion, turn much of what we believe we know about the Holocaust on its head.
Jenni Frazer, Jewish Chronicle