Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Review of "Woman of Valor: A Story of Resistance, Leadership & Courage," by Marty Brounstein

 Review of

Woman of Valor: A Story of Resistance, Leadership & Courage, by Marty Brounstein ISBN 9780757005039

Five out of five stars

A life of courage against great evil

 In the early thirties, there was an increase in the latent antisemitism in Europe that was concurrent with the rise of fascism. While it appeared in many European countries, it was most pronounced in Germany under the Nazis. Although there was a period where antisemitism was relaxed in Poland, there was a rebirth after the departure of Pilsudski.

 In September 1939 Germany invaded Poland and rapidly defeated the Polish forces, after which the war became a military occupation. The Germans brought their extreme antisemitism with them. It was not long before the occupation became a movement to exterminate the Jews. While most were rounded up and sent to the death camps, there were some that managed to escape and even conduct partisan military operations against the German forces and their Polish allies.

Eta Chait was a Jewish woman that spoke fluent Polish and had an appearance that made her able to pass as a Christian in Nazi-occupied Poland. This undoubtably saved her life as she was part of the resistance, saving the lives of several Jews. She joined a partisan band living in the forest and she was able to leave their base and go out into the areas patrolled by the Germans and collect food and other materials that the partisans needed.

 Her story is one of determination to do whatever she could to resist the German killing machine. In many ways it is an amazing one, for the Germans were very thorough and they had many allies in the local Polish police force as well as among the Polish citizenries. Even some fellow Jews collaborated with the Germans.

 Chait survived the war and ended up in New York City shortly after the war ended. It is a great story of courage and survival. Unfortunately, there were too few examples of this particular outcome.

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