The nine The true story of a band of women who survived the worst of Nazi Germany

Gwen Strauss

Book - 2021

"The Nine follows the true story of the author's great aunt Helene Podliasky, who led a band of nine female resistance fighters as they escaped a German forced labor camp and made a ten-day journey across the front lines of WWII from Germany back to Paris. The nine women were all under thirty when they joined the resistance. They smuggled arms through Europe, harbored parachuting agents, coordinated communications between regional sectors, trekked escape routes to Spain and hid Jewish ...children in scattered apartments. They were arrested by French police, interrogated and tortured by the Gestapo. They were subjected to a series of French prisons and deported to Germany. The group formed along the way, meeting at different points, in prison, in transit, and at Ravensbrück. By the time they were enslaved at the labor camp in Leipzig, they were a close-knit group of friends. During the final days of the war, forced onto a death march, the nine chose their moment and made a daring escape. Drawing on incredible research, this powerful, heart-stopping narrative is a moving tribute to the power of humanity and friendship in the darkest of times"--

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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
New York, NY : St. Martin's Press, an imprint of St. Martin's Publishing Group 2021.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xii, 317 pages : illustrations, map ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9781250239297
125023929X
Main Author
Gwen Strauss (author)
  • The Nine
  • Map Of Escape Route
  • Hélène
  • Zaza
  • Nicole
  • Lon And Guigui
  • Zinka
  • Josée
  • Jacky
  • Mena
  • The Longest Day
  • Return To Life
  • Finding The Way Home
  • It's Only A Goodbye.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Poet and essayist Strauss (Trail of Stones) tells the story of nine Resistance fighters who were deported to Ravensbrück late in WWII, then sent to a Leipzig labor camp. Forced into a death march to an unknown destination, these nine women escaped together and fled to the war's front lines in pursuit of their freedom. Strauss learned of this story from one of the women, her great-aunt Hélène Podliasky, and spent years tracking down more information about the group of women who followed Hélène to freedom. The result is an intimate narrative tale of resilience, survival, and friendship. Time and again these women found themselves at terrible risk, but through their devotion to each other, the assistance of strangers (some motivated by kindness or guilt, others hoping for amnesty from the triumphant Allied forces), and just enough luck, they were able to survive the brutal deprivations of Nazi Germany. The Nine is a chilling reminder of the horrors of the concentration camps, but also a moving testament to the power of friendship. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The nine female resistance fighters whose story is told here met in prison, in transit, or at Ravensbrück and joined to protect one another and survive the camps. Before their capture they had smuggled arms, sheltered Jewish children and parachuting Allies, and shepherded refugees along the escape routes to Spain, and they managed their own escape from a death march at war's end. Among them: the author's great aunt Helene Podliasky. With a 60,000-copy first printing. Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Poet and children's author Strauss (The Hiding Days) delivers a brisk yet uneven group biography of nine women who resisted the Nazis in WWII. They include Hélène Podliasky, the author's great aunt; Nicole Clarence, a Jewish radio operator; and Yvonne "Mena" Le Guillou, a French liaison with the Dutch resistance. Caught at various points in 1944, the women met (most for the first time) at the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Sent to work at a munitions factory outside Leipzig, they sabotaged weapons as they plotted their escape. The chance came in April 1945, when their work camp was evacuated and its 5,000 prisoners were forced to march east. After hiding in a ditch, the women altered their clothing to appear more like refugees and trekked west, eventually encountering U.S. troops outside the village of Colditz. Strauss delves into the complications survivors faced in "returning to life," and infuses the narrative with harrowing details about Ravensbrück and intriguing asides on her research process, but the nature of how and why close relationships developed between these nine women remains somewhat unclear. Still, fans of women's and WWII history will be drawn to this deeply researched chronicle. Illust. (May) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Poet and children's author Strauss (The Hiding Days) delivers a brisk yet uneven group biography of nine women who resisted the Nazis in WWII. They include Hélène Podliasky, the author's great aunt; Nicole Clarence, a Jewish radio operator; and Yvonne "Mena" Le Guillou, a French liaison with the Dutch resistance. Caught at various points in 1944, the women met (most for the first time) at the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Sent to work at a munitions factory outside Leipzig, they sabotaged weapons as they plotted their escape. The chance came in April 1945, when their work camp was evacuated and its 5,000 prisoners were forced to march east. After hiding in a ditch, the women altered their clothing to appear more like refugees and trekked west, eventually encountering U.S. troops outside the village of Colditz. Strauss delves into the complications survivors faced in "returning to life," and infuses the narrative with harrowing details about Ravensbrück and intriguing asides on her research process, but the nature of how and why close relationships developed between these nine women remains somewhat unclear. Still, fans of women's and WWII history will be drawn to this deeply researched chronicle. Illust. (May) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Presents the previously untold World War II story of nine female resistance fighters who banded together to survive the camps and ultimately escaped from a final death march across war-torn Germany. 60,000 first printing. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"The Nine follows the true story of the author's great aunt Hâeláene Podliasky, who led a band of nine female resistance fighters as they escaped a German forced labor camp and made a ten-day journey across the front lines of WWII from Germany back to Paris. The nine women were all under thirty when they joined the resistance. They smuggled arms through Europe, harbored parachuting agents, coordinated communications between regional sectors, trekked escape routes to Spain and hid Jewish children in scattered apartments. They were arrested by French police, interrogated and tortured by the Gestapo. They were subjected to a series of French prisons and deported to Germany. The group formed along the way, meeting at different points, in prison, in transit, and at Ravensbrèuck. By the time they were enslaved at the labor camp in Leipzig, they were a close-knit group of friends. During the final days of the war, forced onto a death march, the nine chose their moment and made a daring escape. Drawing on incredible research, this powerful, heart-stopping narrative is a moving tribute to the power of humanity and friendship in the darkest of times"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"[A] narrative of unfathomable courage... Ms. Strauss does her readers—and her subjects—a worthy service by returning to this appalling history of the courage of women caught up in a time of rapacity and war." —Wall Street Journal"Utterly gripping." —Anne Sebba, author of Les Parisiennes "A compelling, beautifully written story of resilience, friendship and survival. The story of Women’s resistance during World War II needs to be told and The Nine accomplishes this in spades." —Heather Morris, New York Times bestselling author of Cilka's JourneyThe Nine follows the true story of the author’s great aunt Hélène Podliasky, who led a band of nine female resistance fighters as they escaped a German forced labor camp and made a ten-day journey across the front lines of WWII from Germany back to Paris.The nine women were all under thirty when they joined the resistance. They smuggled arms through Europe, harbored parachuting agents, coordinated communications between regional sectors, trekked escape routes to Spain and hid Jewish children in scattered apartments. They were arrested by French police, interrogated and tortured by the Gestapo. They were subjected to a series of French prisons and deported to Germany. The group formed along the way, meeting at different points, in prison, in transit, and at Ravensbrück. By the time they were enslaved at the labor camp in Leipzig, they were a close-knit group of friends. During the final days of the war, forced onto a death march, the nine chose their moment and made a daring escape.Drawing on incredible research, this powerful, heart-stopping narrative from Gwen Strauss is a moving tribute to the power of humanity and friendship in the darkest of times.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The powerful, previously untold WWII story of nine female resistance fighters who banded together to survive the camps and ultimately escaped from a final death march across war-torn Germany…