During the Holocaust years, many Jews struggled alone or with others against the terrors of the Nazis, risking their lives against overwhelming odds for the slimmest chance of survival. In Defiance, Nechama Tec offers a riveting history of one such group, a forest community in western Belorussia that would number more than 1,200 Jews by 1944 – including the elderly, women, and children.
Tec recounts the astonishing details of how this Jewish partisan unit – hungry, exposed to the harsh winter weather, always on the lookout for German patrols – took on the duel role of fighters and rescuers. Founder and commander of the unit is the charismatic Tuvia Bielski, who with vision, courage, and defiance, led the largest armed rescue operation of Jews by Jews in World War II.
In what is surely “the most amazing story you’ve never heard,” Defiance is a gripping testament to the human will to survive and a dramatic account of resistance against all odds. Now a major film, starring Daniel Craig (Casino Royale) as Tuvia Bielski and Tony Award-winning Liev Schreiber as his brother Zus, head of intelligence operations, this reissue edition features a foreword by film director Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai, Glory) and a new preface by the author.
About the Author
- Now a major motion picture starring Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber, by the director of Blood Diamond and Glory
- Features a foreword by Edward Zwick and new preface by the author
- Gripping narrative history of the largest armed rescue operation of Jews by Jews in World War II
- Combines careful research and rare exclusive interviews with key surviving members, including Tuvia Bielski himself, 2 weeks before his death in 1987
- Includes historic photographs of several key members
- Upends common belief that Jews during WWII “went like sheep to the slaughter”
Nechama Tec is Professor Emerita of Sociology at University of Connecticut, and author of several books, including In the Lion’s Den: The Life of Oswald Rufeisen (OUP 1990) and Courage and Resilience: Women, Men and the Holocaust (Yale 2003), both of which were nominated for the Pulitzer. Internationally noted Holocaust scholar, she was appointed in 2002 to the Council of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. She survived the Holocaust in Poland by passing as a Catholic in areas banned to Jews.
“Powerful and meticulous… Defiance must be cherished” – Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic
Foreword by Edward Zwick, film director New Preface by the author 1. Before the War 2. The Russian Occupation 3. The German Invasion 4. The Beginning of the Bielski Otriad 5. Escapes from the Ghetto 6. The Partisan Network 7. Rescue or Resistance 8. Eluding the Enemy 9. The Big Hunt 10. Building a Forest Community 11. The Emergence of New Social Arrangements 12. The Fate of Women 13. Keeping Order 14. The End of the Otria 15. From Self-Preservation to Rescue Notes Biographical Appendix Organization of the Bielski Otriad Glossary Index