On Thursday, August 12, at 7:30 p.m., author Judy Batalion will discuss her New York Times best-seller, “The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos,” as part of The Hampton Synagogue Author Discussion Series.
One of the most important stories of World War II, already optioned by Steven Spielberg for a film, the book brings to light the extraordinary accomplishments of 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 female resistance fighters have remained virtually unknown. Until now.
Judy Batalion was born and raised in Montreal, where she grew up speaking English, French, Yiddish and Hebrew, and trying to stay warm. She studied the history of science at Harvard then moved to London to pursue a Ph.D. in art history. She has written for many publications and her stories about family relationships, the generational transmission of trauma, pathological hoarding and militant minimalism came together in her book “White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess in Between.” That book was optioned by Warner Brothers with whom Batalion is currently developing the TV series “Cluttered.”
The author lives with her husband and three children in New York City.
The Hampton Synagogue Author Discussion Series, chaired by Glenn Dorskind and moderated by Rabbi Avraham Bronstein, will conclude with a dessert reception and book signing. Books will be available for purchase, facilitated by Westhampton Beach’s The Red Jacket. The August 12 program takes place in the Berman Sanctuary of The Hampton Synagogue, 154 Sunset Avenue, Westhampton Beach. Admission is free but registration is required at 631-288-0534, ext. 10.