cover image Woman of Valor: A Story of Resistance, Leadership and Courage

Woman of Valor: A Story of Resistance, Leadership and Courage

Marty Brounstein. Square One, $16.95 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-0-7570-0503-9

Historian Brounstein (The Righteous Few) recounts the life of Holocaust resister Eta Chait (1916–2008) in this eye-opening account. Twenty-three years old when Nazi forces invaded Poland, in 1939, Chait and her parents and siblings saw their neighborhood in Lukow turned into the town’s Jewish ghetto. Able to pass as a non-Jew, she smuggled stolen Nazi weapons and found work at a German employment agency, where she falsified records in order to save people from onerous work assignments. In 1943, Chait escaped the liquidation of the Lukow ghetto and fled into the forest, where she and her father, the only other family member to escape, joined an underground resistance group. Forging relationships with area farmers and villagers, the group bartered for supplies and found shelter for more than 100 Jews fleeing the Nazis. Chait, who became one of the group’s leaders, used false identity papers, her fluent Polish, and a crucifix given to her as a gift to move freely through the Polish countryside. Brounstein positions Chait’s story as representative of broader Jewish resistance during the Holocaust, which he argues is underrepresented in histories of WWII that tend to cast Jews as passive victims. Written in accessible if somewhat dry prose, this admiring biography spotlights a little-known story of resistance in the face of nearly insurmountable odds. (Jan.)