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Beyond Courage: Jews Fighting Nazism
More often then not when talking about the Shoah (otherwise known as the Holocaust), its Jewish victims are portrayed as being helpless, with most individual stories revolving around people either barely surviving, or dying tragically. This book strives to correct that, by talking about Jews who either helped other Jews escape the Nazis or who fought back against Nazi oppression.
The book is organized into 5 parts ("The Realization," "Saving The Future," "In The Ghettos," "In The Camps," and "Partisan Warfare'), going from members of NGOs who got Jewish children safely out of conquered Nazi territory, to resistance under Nazi rule, to escape from ghettos and death camps, to Jews who joined partisan groups and fought back directly against the Nazis.
Largely the individual chapters focus on one person and their actions, including Walter Suskind (who managed to sneak 385 Jewish children out of Amsterdam), the Bielski brothers (who ran a hidden community of Jews in the Belarussian forests for years), Sarika Yehoshua (who commanded a female partisan unit in Greece), and Motele Shlayan (a twelve year old violinist who gathered intelligence for Ukrainian partisans). I was really impressed by the sheer diversity of ways that people fought back against the Nazis, and reading this book made me want to learn more about their individual stories.
Each person profiled in this book is almost unbelievably brave. Reading this book made me proud to be Jewish, and I hope it becomes a classic in classrooms over the next couple of years.
Doreen Rappaport, the writer, does a great job at making the book both suspenseful and packed full of information. This book is a great introduction for people of any age into the topic of both Jewish resistance specifically and anti-Nazi resistance in general happened, and I am glad that I decided to read it.
I cannot say how great this book was enough. If you see it, read it as soon as you can find it. It really is worth it.