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What to expect

The prevailing image of European Jews during the Holocaust is one of helpless victims. But in fact, many Jews struggled against the terrors of the Third Reich. This is the riveting history of one such group, a forest community numbering more than 1,200 Jews, that carried out the largest armed rescue operation of Jews by Jews in World War II. Nechama Tec reconstructs the amazing details of how these men and women of all ages—hungry, largely unarmed, and exposed to harsh winter weather—managed not only to survive but to take on the duel role of fighters and rescuers. Under the guidance of their charismatic leader, Tuvia Bielski, they smuggled Jews out of heavily guarded ghettos, led retaliatory raids against Nazi collaborators, and offered protection to all Jewish fugitives who could find their way to them.

Critics Review

  • “One of the most elevating and inspiring stories in the chronicle of death and despair that is the Holocaust…an accomplished and startling work of Holocaust documentation.”

    Los Angeles Times
  • “Powerful and meticulous…Defiance must be cherished.”

    New Republic
  • “We are again in the debt of Nechama Tec for offering us yet another unforgettable account of heroic Jewish survival in the midst of untold death and destruction with Defiance.”

    Jewish Spectator
  • “Suspenseful and inspiring.”

    Publishers Weekly
  • “Stefan Rudnicki proves himself equal to the challenge…Rudnicki’s clear presentation helps the listener navigate the densely packed historical material. One of his greatest strengths is his ease with the language of the story’s setting. His pronunciation of names and his use of the slightest of accents when rendering the passages of dialogue are completely authentic and comfortable. The material itself is riveting.”

  • “Powerful…A remarkable story of a great leader, as well as of a neglected aspect of WWII.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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