Judy Batalion was born and raised in Montreal, where she grew up speaking English, French, Yiddish, and Hebrew, and trying to stay warm. She studied the history of science at Harvard then moved to London to pursue a PhD in art history. All the while she worked in a variety of fields including roles as a museum curator and university lecturer. Batalion transformed these experiences into material, and wrote essays and articles for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vogue, the Forward, Salon, the Jerusalem Post, and many other publications. In April 2021, Batalion’s highly anticipated book The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos (William Morrow) published, sharing the spectacular, searing history that brings to light the extraordinary accomplishments of brave Jewish women who became resistance fighters—a group of unknown heroes whose exploits have never been chronicled in full, until now.
Of the legions of stories of World War II and the Holocaust that shape our understanding of those history-changing events, one of the most extraordinary has remained hidden: the daring resistance efforts of Jewish women in the ghettos of the Nazi occupation. In The Light of Days, Batalion shares the acts of defiance and rebellion of women who saw and acknowledged the truth of their time, worked together, and risked their lives in the fight for justice and liberty. Meticulously researched and grippingly told, The Light of Days reminds us that small acts matter -- to the people carrying them out, and to the generations that follow. The Light of Days was also published in a young reader’s format and will be published across Europe, Brazil, and Israel. It has been optioned by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, for whom Batalion is co-writing the screenplay.
Through presentations and conversations that offer an emotionally authentic and factually accurate account of history, Batalion blends her many years of research and incredible testimonies with a dash of humor lending to an unforgettable event.
Batalion is also the author of White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess in Between. She lives in New York with her husband and three children.
Praise for The Light of Days:
"This is a powerful and necessary book. I’m so grateful to Judy Batalion for bringing us these women in all their fierce intelligence and courage. It’s astonishing that their stories haven’t been widely heard until now—but Batalion’s rare combination of skills has brought them to vibrant life. This is history we’ve needed to hear."
--Rachel Kadish, author of The Weight of Ink
"The true power of Light of Days is in its universal message of hope, of courage, and of the unique position of women to show us that even in the darkest hours, we have the power to bring light. This light shines so brightly thanks to Judy Batalion."
“Resounding history of Jewish women who fought the German invaders in World War II. In a vigorous narrative that draws on interviews, diaries, and other sources, Batalion delivers an objective view of past events that are too quickly being forgotten—and a story much in need of telling.”
--Kirkus (Starred Review)
“Be not afraid. Judy Batalion brings to life the story of young women who had mindboggling valor. Super heroes. They fought the Nazis. With nerves of steel. You don’t have to fight the Nazis (we hope). But you do have to be courageous and honorable. (Well, most of the time). And you will be. There are inspirational books that change your life. And this is one of them.”
--Maira Kalman, author of And the Pursuit of Happiness
“Bold, brave and revelatory, meticulously researched and engagingly written, Batalion transports readers into the harrowing World War II era, where a generation of young, Jewish women banded together to fight an almost unimaginable evil.”
--Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, New York Times bestselling author of Dr. Mutter’s Marvels
"Judy Batalion has told the largely forgotten stories of the girl couriers, smugglers and fighters who formed the nerve center of Jewish resistance in occupied Poland. A breathtaking, dazzling work of historical resurrection"
--Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood and Brothers of the Gun (with Marwan Hisham)
“A remarkable portrait of young Jewish women who fought in the Polish resistance during WWII. . . pays vivid tribute to `the breadth and scope of female courage.'"
“High stakes, action-packed scenes move the narrative along, but the author never loses hold of the pace… That she has been able to accomplish all of this [research] without burdening the reader with that same feeling of toil is simply stunning. This book will instruct and astound you, while also bringing you to tears.”