THE BIELSKI BROTHERS

Peter Duffy, Author . HarperCollins $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-621074-2

This is a story about heroes, and Duffy does a masterful job of telling it. The narrative begins on a farm in Stankevich, a village in what is now Belarus. After witnessing the brutal execution of their parents by Nazi soldiers, the three Bielski brothers, Tuvia, Asael and Zus, fled into the nearby dense forest, where they joined relatives and friends, scrounged for food and weapons and inflicted whatever damage they could on German troops. As the group grew, the brothers sent word to the nearby ghettos in Lida and Novogrudek to join the steadily increasing brigade. For the Jews gated in by the ghetto walls, slated for death, word of the Bielski group was barely believable. For those who dared to believe and managed to escape, the Bielski brothers offered more than food and protection—they offered hope. The brigade grew to an astonishing 1,200 Jews who built a secret village deep in the forest. The group's cumbersome size made it an easy target, but Tuvia, the eldest brother, refused to turn any Jew away. With courage, ingenuity and sometimes sheer dumb luck, the brothers led the group through the dense forests of Belarus as the Germans hunted them down. Yet the world has heard little of this event. Years after the war, when Tuvia was living in Brooklyn, New York (all three brothers have since died), no one knew that the local immigrant truck driver had once commanded the feared Bielski brigade. It is time the three brothers received their due. (July)

Forecast:This remarkable story would make a terrific movie. With good publicity, sales should be brisk.

Reviewed on: 05/26/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-0206-0
Paperback - 302 pages - 978-0-06-093553-5
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