Under the noses of the German military and French police, Georges Loinger smuggles Jewish children out of occupied France into Switzerland. In Belgium, Youra Livchitz and two other resisters ambush a train destined for a death camp, allowing scores of Jews to flee from the cattle cars. Four brothers lead more than 1,200 ghetto refugees deep into the Byelorussian forest, where they build a partisan fighting force and self-sufficient village. Forced to make detonators for German bombs, Estusia Wajcblum smuggles out gunpowder, grain by grain, to be used to blow up the crematoriums in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Despite debilitating wounds to both his feet, 14-year-old Idel Kagan helps dig an escape tunnel out of a forced labor camp in Poland. Sarika Yehoshua forms an all-girl unit of guerrilla fighters in the mountains of Greece, teaching them to shed their traditional ways and become soldiers. And 12-year-old Motele Shlayan entertains German officers with his violin moments before setting off a bomb.
Through meticulously researched and stirring accounts — some well known and some chronicled here in book form for the first time — Doreen Rappaport brings to light the defiance of tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. These resisters answered the genocidal madness and unspeakable depravity that was Hitler’s Holocaust with the greatest weapons of all — courage, ingenuity, the will to survive, and the resolve to save others or to die trying.