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November 15 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Author: Gwen Strauss – Virtual

The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany

Moderator: Charles Newman


The 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 is a mov­ing trib­ute to the pow­er of human­i­ty and friend­ship in the dark­est of times.

Gwen Strauss’ poems, short sto­ries and essays have appeared in numer­ous jour­nals includ­ing The New Repub­licLon­don Sun­day TimesNew Eng­land Review, and Keny­on Review and she has pub­lished a col­lec­tion of poet­ry, Trail of Stones. She was born and spent her ear­ly years in Haiti. Strauss lives in South­ern France, where she is the Direc­tor of the artist’s res­i­den­cy pro­gram at the Dora Maar House.

Photo of Gwen Strauss



November 15
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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