While conducting research at the British Library, author Judy Batalion came across the 1946 book Freuen in di Ghettos (Women in the Ghettos), filled with accounts of young Jewish women who defied the Nazis. These Polish-Jewish “ghetto girls” paid off Gestapo guards, hid revolvers in teddy bears, and flirted with and shot Nazis. They distributed underground bulletins, flung Molotov cocktails, bombed German supply trains, organized soup kitchens, and were bearers of the truth about what was happening to the Jews. In this discussion, Batalion will relay several of these women’s stories, describe her years of research into the history of Polish-Jewish resistance, and discuss why so many of these tales remained hidden for so long.
In addition to her book The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos, Batalion is also the author of White Walls: A Memoir about Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess In Between, and her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Forward, Vogue, and many other publications. The Light of Days has been published in a young readers’ edition and has been optioned by Steven Spielberg for a major motion picture, for which Batalion is cowriting the screenplay.
Batalion earned a BA in the history of science from Harvard University and a PhD in the history of art from the Courtauld Institute, University of London, and has worked as a museum curator and university lecturer. Born in Montreal, she lives in New York City with her husband and three children.
Sponsored by the Gabry Family Fund. For more information, contact Jenn Berube at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-725-3928. Open to the public free of charge.