• The Light of Days

  • The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos
  • By: Judy Batalion
  • Narrated by: Mozhan Marno
  • Length: 14 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (488 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.  

©2020 Judy Batalion (P)2020 HarperAudio

What listeners say about The Light of Days

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating....

I have read a lot about the Holocaust and "met" some very brave women in those books but this book is shocking in many ways: the stories themselves, the bravery of these incredible women, the suppression of their stories for so many years .... The book does feel "disorganized" at times, and jumps around so i almost feel like reading it again to follow the individual stories closer, but I can't.... it is too harrowing to read even once. It would be helpful if the narrator pronounced Polish and Hebrew names correctly (the river Bug is B U G and bot a B "a" G... Since i listened to the book and do not have the name in writing, based on the meaning of the name ZEVIA, it is not ZEVIA but TZVIA... It did grate my ears every time I heard it..... but, overall, a must read!

5 people found this helpful

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A profoundly moving book

I have read a lot of histories and memoirs about WW2 and the Holocaust but this book revealed an area that I had been unaware of. The women’s stories in this book are amazing and inspiring. Their grit and courage and the suffering they endured trying to help others caught in the trap of Nazi-dominated Poland are difficult to imagine but clearly and beautifully described in this book. I highly recommend it. The reader is very good as well.

5 people found this helpful

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Necessary Reading-or Listening

Very well written and narrated. Both writer and narrator had their hearts in this project which brought these true heroes to light. People whose names we should know, whose deeds need to be well known, appreciated and admired. Many thanks and blessings to Ms. Batalion for this book.

5 people found this helpful

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  • SJ
  • 04-19-21

Not just another...

This story is different. It’s about women and their courage and their fortitude. It’s timely with all the inequities coming to light these days.
While extremely hard to listen to at times, I’m much more aware of humanity willingness to look the other direction and how so many countries were complicit in The Final Solution.

I’m pleased that the epilogue called attention to her own fears and how groups may still be choosing to ‘view’ history. May God bless the souls that fought and May they and their families find peace and joy. And especially, I wish all of us treat each other with compassion.

Thank-you, Judy Batalion.

4 people found this helpful

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Wow

Although I like to torture myself with reminders of the nazi atrocities and the holocaust, for the reason of never forgetting and not letting my spirit and legacy die in the war of forgetfulness, this book cut deep, it cut personal, and it reinvigorated my commitment to preserving the stories of how hope through horror, can become a new reason to live. I’ve never cried reading, until now.

3 people found this helpful

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Deeply profound and well written

What an incredible weaving of tales bringing light to these women’s lives during the war. Truly moving. We must always keep the stories of these hero’s alive.

3 people found this helpful

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Mildly disappointing

I enjoyed the stories, although I felt there were too many. What I mean by that is I wish the Author had focused more on several women instead of so many, to go more in depth with fewer characters.

I think this book has a good rating because of the true stories told and not necessarily for the actual writing of the book.

One part of the book I did not like was the author telling the tale of these brave women and then chronicling her own trials and tribulations of writing the book. After hearing of true gut wrenching and death defying acts of heroism, it came off as whiny, braggadocios and misplaced.

Overall, the book does its job in relaying the women’s stories and I would ultimately recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

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Too Sad to Read

This is an important story but too horrifying for someone who lost loved ones in the Holocaust.

1 person found this helpful

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Don’t waste your credit and time

I listened to the first 4 chapters and found the story insipid and boring. The voice of the reader is dull and monotone. This has been the worse audiobook ever.

1 person found this helpful

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This a must listen to book.

I feel the need to buy multiple copies, to give as Bat mitzvah gifts. Very powerful.

1 person found this helpful

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