Women Resistance in Ghettos | The summary of the webinar

The Warsaw Ghetto Museum has started a series of monthly webinars commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Our first guest was Judy Batalion, the author of the “New York Times” bestseller “The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance in Hitler’s Ghettos”. The webinar took place on January 18, 2023.

“The Light of Days” is the result of the author’s scientific research about Jewish female fighters in ghettos during the German occupation. While working on her research in the British Library, she came across a Yiddish book titled „Freuen in di Gettos” (“Women in Ghettos”) which became an inspiration for “The Light of Days”. Batalion’s book tells a story about Jewish women who became resistance fighters in Poland during WWII: the “ghetto girls” paid off Gestapo guards, hid revolvers in loaves of bread and jars of marmalade, and helped build systems of underground bunkers.

he book was translated into 22 languages and is already optioned as a motion picture by Steven Spielberg for whom Judy Batalion is co-writing the screenplay.

During the meeting hosted by Masha Makarova from WGM’s Educational Department Judy Batalion told about her work on the book and presented the profiles of some of the book’s heroines, e.g. Renia Kukiełka, one of the reportage’s key figures. The writer also answered the listeners’ questions about history of the ghetto resistance as well as about her own feelings during the writing process. Answering the question about what message today’s readers can find in the history of Jewish female resistance fighter, she said, “These women did what they could. They fought for dignity. Every small act could lead to a change – I find it very inspiring.”

Ms Batalion added that the Polish translation of „The Light of Days” will be probably available in a couple of month.

The recording of the event will be available in a form of a podcast which will be released in several weeks. Webinars commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising will take place once a month till the end of this year.