Joanne D. Gilbert

Author | Educator | Speaker

cover Women of Valor

Buy now:

Women of Valor

Polish Jewish Resisters to the Third Reich

In September 1939, the country of Poland and its people were ravaged by Adolf Hitler’s murderous Blitzkrieg and the horrific Occupation that followed. Further bearing the brunt of this invasion were the 3.3 million Polish Jews – who were specifically targeted for extermination. Ghettoized and then crowded into cattle cars and taken by train to slave labor and death camps, these starving, overworked and disease-ridden captives had little hope for survival. 

There were some extraordinary Jews, however, who managed to defy their oppressors by becoming combat partisans, spies, couriers, document-forgers, code-breakers, weapons-experts, and when possible, passing as Gentiles. Four of these were indomitable young Polish Jewish females, who despite their gender, youth, lack of preparation and training, transformed themselves from ordinary girls living ordinary lives, into extraordinary, fierce and focused enemies of Hitler’s Third Reich. In so doing, they became true Women of Valor: Polish Jewish Resisters to the Third Reich.

The unforgettable true stories of: Manya Barman (the quick-witted, saboteur), Faye Lazebnik (the beautiful, intrepid photographer), Lola Leser (the glamorous blonde, document forger), and Miriam Miasnik (the little girl who dressed like a boy and carried a gun), provide an engaging, enlightening, and inspiring perspective of remarkable young women who faced and overcame the horrors of the Third Reich. 


Well-researched and powerful…

“Gilbert immerses readers in the lives of her interviewees; photographs and helpful notes that provide historical background are interspersed throughout… Taken together, these recollections are intensely personal and thoughtfully compiled—richly descriptive of the women’s day-to-day experiences during the war while also providing historical context… Well-researched and powerful; challenges readers to consider the heroism and struggles of women’s resistance.” —Kirkus Reviews

The journey that you will share in this book is well worth the efforts of the writer, the Survivor, and exceedingly valuable for you, their cherished readers…

“That these women defied the odds and survived is a tribute to their ability to maintain their humanity despite the overpowering forces that were determined to destroy them. They refused to be passive.” —Rabbi Michael Berenbaum, Ph.D, Professor, American Jewish University, Los Angeles, California

A book that had to be written…

“That Gilbert has so sensitively and effectively captured the voice and spirit of each these extraordinary women, is an achievement worthy of praise.” —Charles Silow, Ph.D, Clinical Psychologist, Director: Jewish Senior Life of Metropolitan Detroit’s Program for Holocaust Survivors and Families

A story that is little known and incredibly inspiring…

“They stood up to the greatest evil of the 20th century… Joanne Gilbert has told us their stories with love, verve, insight, and thorough research.” —Michael Green, Ph.D, Author, Professor, University Nevada/Las Vegas

Cinematically written, a page-turner, humbling…

“Utterly engaging and spellbinding mini-biographies of four indelible women, each of whom experienced a lifetime of tragedy and triumph… ‘You Are There’ is a boast few writers could live up to; Ms. Gilbert lives up to it, in spades.” —Jeff Lipsky, Filmmaker

“The honesty, candor, and voice of each woman is clear, as is her need to finally share her experiences with the world, so that what she went through will never be forgotten. A volume such as this is particularly important in an age when many Holocaust survivors and resisters are losing their battle with time.” —Arielle Sokoll, posted on Goodreads

“I knew, of course, about the Nazi evils and the pogroms against Jews and other groups. I also knew the worst of all the cruelty had taken place along the Eastern frontier. These things I knew in the abstract but I had never heard, or read, a personal account of any survivor who had actively resisted.” —George McLendon, author of Papa’s Gift, posted on Amazon

“I highly encourage this book to all women, young and old… It is an easy read and I would recommend this book also to any educators who are teaching studies about the Holocaust or History Classes.” —Sherry M. Kramer, posted on Amazon

“Though I was aware that anti-Semitism has a long and broad history, this book gives specifics and then goes on to personalize the history of the holocaust… It’s a book for all ages and I only wish that it would appear on reading lists in middle and high schools everywhere…” —Bobbie Dee Best, posted on Amazon