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

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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 Journey The Nine follows the true story of the author's great aun 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 Journey The Nine follows the true story of the author's great aunt H�l�ne 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 Ravensbr�ck. 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.


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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 Journey The Nine follows the true story of the author's great aun 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 Journey The Nine follows the true story of the author's great aunt H�l�ne 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 Ravensbr�ck. 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.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sage

    An incredible story. Sucked me in completely, much like Sonia Purnell’s A Woman of No Importance. All throughout the book I kept reflecting on the fact that these nine women WERE MY AGE?!!!? I’m 26, and the women ranged in age from 20-29. The determination, courage, quick wit, and sheer will to survive was just amazing. I mean, the alternative *was* death, but even so. The atrocities that the women witnessed and lived through, and the fact that all nine of them went from the Resistance, to conce An incredible story. Sucked me in completely, much like Sonia Purnell’s A Woman of No Importance. All throughout the book I kept reflecting on the fact that these nine women WERE MY AGE?!!!? I’m 26, and the women ranged in age from 20-29. The determination, courage, quick wit, and sheer will to survive was just amazing. I mean, the alternative *was* death, but even so. The atrocities that the women witnessed and lived through, and the fact that all nine of them went from the Resistance, to concentration camps and death marches, to escaping and crossing the front to freedom...just wow. I particularly liked the chapter at the end about their lives after the war, and the ingrained trauma that the next generation had to deal with — I never thought about anything like that but it makes sense. I think I expected more from this book writing-style wise, I can’t really put my finger on it, but parts of it felt a little disjointed. 3.5 overall, but a very solid addition to the numerous books about badass women in WWII.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Nine by Gwen Strauss is an excellent nonfiction that tells the suspenseful and true-life stories of a group on nine women whom were captured, imprisoned, and escaped from the clutches of the Nazis during WWII. This book was so engrossing, fascinating, harrowing, and captivating that I forgot at times that it was nonfiction. These women all participated in the Resistance against the German occupation, risked their very existence, and were imprisoned. Instead of giving up, they continued to fi The Nine by Gwen Strauss is an excellent nonfiction that tells the suspenseful and true-life stories of a group on nine women whom were captured, imprisoned, and escaped from the clutches of the Nazis during WWII. This book was so engrossing, fascinating, harrowing, and captivating that I forgot at times that it was nonfiction. These women all participated in the Resistance against the German occupation, risked their very existence, and were imprisoned. Instead of giving up, they continued to fight, and this is their story of escape, survival, and resilience. I am stunned and forever changed by their heroic and unforgettable stories. I am so grateful that the author (whose own aunt was one of the women) was able to bring light to these events and be able to tell the world of these strong women. Reading their stories of escape and survival is something that everyone needs to read. It is something that I will never forget. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and St. Martin’s Press for this arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lori Sinsel Harris

    I finished reading "The Nine" before work this morning and all I can say is "what a story!!" I have read numerous books about the Holocaust, both fiction and non-fiction, some good or great, others not so great, but out of each and everyone of them there is one thing that stands out above all else and that is the resilience and courage of these men and women. In every book, novel, article, biography and memoir I have read those qualities rise above all. They shine brightly through the women's st I finished reading "The Nine" before work this morning and all I can say is "what a story!!" I have read numerous books about the Holocaust, both fiction and non-fiction, some good or great, others not so great, but out of each and everyone of them there is one thing that stands out above all else and that is the resilience and courage of these men and women. In every book, novel, article, biography and memoir I have read those qualities rise above all. They shine brightly through the women's stories in "The Nine". Giwen Strauss, the great-niece of Helene Podliasky tells the story of these nine courageous Resistance fighters with dignity and grace. She brings their trials to life and shares their suffering in such a way as we, the readers, feel it also. Not dwelling on, nor glossing over the horrors of the camps and tortures suffered by these women, she give4s us a clear portrait of what their time there encompassed. I really liked this book, I won't say I "enjoyed" reading it, because how does one enjoy reading about dying children and tortured women? But I did learn from these women and their story as I have learned from all the books I have read about WWII. Strauss does a great job bringing the facts to life so that we feel, right along with Helene, Zinka and all the other women. I liked that the facts weren't just listed in some long, dry, litany, but divulged in such a manner as to evoke emotion in the reader. To me this defines the difference of being a good writer, to being a great writer. 5 stars for sure, I found nothing worth detracting from a 5 star rating. I would recommend to readers that like to learn the hard truths about those times so maybe not the right kind of book for the more casual light reader, but certainly a fit for serious students of the Holocaust. Thank you to the publisher's at St. Martin's Publishing Group for the free advanced reader copy of this book. I am posting my review on Goodreads, NetGalley and Bookish First, and my website mycatreads.com, upon publication I will post on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Instagram and Twitter.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This is a true story of nine brave women who were imprisoned in Germany for their work in the French Resistance. It is difficult to give a rating to a book like this. The story of these strong women and their ability to face unthinkable horrors deserves an infinite number of stars. Unfortunately, the actual writing does not get the same high praise. I liked the way that the book focused on each one of the Nine, giving details of their life before the war, their work with the resistance, imprison This is a true story of nine brave women who were imprisoned in Germany for their work in the French Resistance. It is difficult to give a rating to a book like this. The story of these strong women and their ability to face unthinkable horrors deserves an infinite number of stars. Unfortunately, the actual writing does not get the same high praise. I liked the way that the book focused on each one of the Nine, giving details of their life before the war, their work with the resistance, imprisonment, and flight to freedom. Each woman’s unique personality was well highlighted and it was interesting to read a book that focused on political prisoners during WWII. Though each woman’s individual experiences are important, it is the bond of friendship that makes this a powerful story. The overall tone of the book was a bit confusing. Certain parts felt like a novel, other parts a historical textbook, and still other parts seemed semi-autobiographical. The author’s great aunt was one of the Nine, so it made sense that she would want to bring in a personal aspect to the story. I just felt like her inconsistent use of first person was jarring and disrupted the flow of the book. It also felt like the author would go off on tangents, citing historical facts that were interesting but took the reader farther away from the central story. These sections were probably meant to build context, but after a while they just started to feel excessive. I often found myself just wishing to get back to the women’s story. Overall it was an interesting book. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart or the overly sensitive reader. I wasn’t able to read it right before going to sleep due to its graphic nature. What these women and thousands of others faced is beyond horrible, but that is also why we need these stories to be told. Lest we forget. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and BookishFirst for this advanced copy!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tracie

    Gwen Strauss is the niece of Helene Podiasky, one of this group of nine women. Strauss is a poet but became a detective in trying to discover and honor the lives of these extraordinary resistance women who were known by aliases and numbers. Six were French, two Dutch and one Spanish, who were all sent to Ravensbruck as political prisoners. In July 1944, they were sent to an armament factory near Leipzig. The support these women gave each other and others kept them alive during a horrific time. T Gwen Strauss is the niece of Helene Podiasky, one of this group of nine women. Strauss is a poet but became a detective in trying to discover and honor the lives of these extraordinary resistance women who were known by aliases and numbers. Six were French, two Dutch and one Spanish, who were all sent to Ravensbruck as political prisoners. In July 1944, they were sent to an armament factory near Leipzig. The support these women gave each other and others kept them alive during a horrific time. That they escaped toward the end of the war and survived to in part tell their story is amazing. All the women suffered from physical and mental harm for the rest of their lives. The French government and people they came back to were not as supportive as they should have been. They and other women were basically encouraged to never speak or their ordeal. Although Strauss feels she never knew all of her aunts tribulations or those of the other women, she gives the reader a chance to raise a toast to friendship and bravery. I received a digital copy of this this book from the publisher through NetGalley for a honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    This book is about nine female resistance fighters who, led by one courageous leader, escape a German labor camp during World War II and journey on foot back to Paris. Not only are they running for their lives, but they smuggle Jews and save children along the way. These women are incredibly young, yet they are held together by their determination and their courage. I was shocked with every page, stunned by the way Strauss was able to weave the stories together. Her writing is beautiful, and th This book is about nine female resistance fighters who, led by one courageous leader, escape a German labor camp during World War II and journey on foot back to Paris. Not only are they running for their lives, but they smuggle Jews and save children along the way. These women are incredibly young, yet they are held together by their determination and their courage. I was shocked with every page, stunned by the way Strauss was able to weave the stories together. Her writing is beautiful, and the story of these women is even more beautiful. I couldn't put this book down until I finished, and now that I have, I want more. I want to see what happened to them after their story comes to a close. Strauss was delicate yet unfiltered in her portrayal of the brutality of what happened during World War II, which I admired and appreciated. This book isn't for everyone, but I don't think these topics of abuse and violence should be sugarcoated and glazed over. This was an amazing story!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia-Marah

    The Nine by Gwen Strauss tells the historical account of nine female political prisoners who escape their Nazi guards while on a death march during the last days of WWII. These nine women were imprisoned for participating in the French Resistance. This book chronicles: • First their treatment in Ravensbrück, a concentration camp. • Later their attempts to sabotage the munitions they were making at a factory in Leipzig while being held in a work camp. • Finally, their harrowing journey across The Nine by Gwen Strauss tells the historical account of nine female political prisoners who escape their Nazi guards while on a death march during the last days of WWII. These nine women were imprisoned for participating in the French Resistance. This book chronicles: • First their treatment in Ravensbrück, a concentration camp. • Later their attempts to sabotage the munitions they were making at a factory in Leipzig while being held in a work camp. • Finally, their harrowing journey across Germany searching for the front, allied troops, and a way home. This group of women included six French women, two Dutch women and one Spanish woman. Along the journey the author, Gwen Strauss, who is Hélène’s great niece, tells us about all nine women’s lives before the war and during the war, including their various contributions to the Resistance. Some of them hid Jewish children within the foster care system. Some were curriers. One leads people hiking across the Pyrenees, to freedom in Spain. This historical account blew my mind. I received this galley from St. Martin’s Press after winning a Goodreads giveaway. I’ve recently read several novels set in France during WWII concerning women involved in the French Resistance. I love it when the books I’m reading and/or the subject I’m studying connects and each separate book bolsters my understanding of the subject as a whole. That is what happened while reading these books during Women’s History Month. While reading The Nine, my understanding of how little information Europeans had about the genocide coalesced in my mind. The misinformation Nazis spread about the people who were being deported to concentration camps was designed to distract the public from what was really happening. Locals were led to believe the people being arrested and deported were criminals. Often the women who were arrested as political prisoners for participating in the resistance were labeled as prostitutes, misleading people to think they were immoral degenerates, a negative element within their communities that they should support being imprisoned. In reality, people were being imprisoned and exterminated, for being resistance fighters, Jewish, Romani, homosexual, or a communist… The inhumane treatment these people experienced in the camps was beyond the average person’s imagination. When allied soldiers liberated the camps, what they found shook them to the core. There was even a misunderstanding amongst POWs fighting for allied forces, who were held by the Nazis. The POWs did not know what was going on in the concentration and work camps. While reading the story of these nine women, I kept thinking about how much WWII changed- everything. It changed Europe most drastically, where you could see the devastation of towns bombed flat, and millions of people dead. But it also changed the world’s understanding of the horrors humans are capable of. A new word, GENOCIDE, was invented to describe what the Nazis did in their concentration and death camps. Not only were entire families wiped off the earth, but the survivors carried with them guilt and trauma that have carried on through generations. This book was obviously very heavy subject matter, and I couldn’t read much of it every day because of how disturbing it was. Some days I read an entire chapter, and other days I had to stop after a few pages, because I couldn’t go on. One subject this book focuses on, besides these women’s imprisonment and subsequent escape, was the long-term effects of the traumas they experienced. Not only were they traumatized when they were taken to the camps, but they were re-traumatized when they were moved to refugee camps immediately after being liberated. These nine women, while briefly living in a Red Cross refugee camp before being sent back to Paris, felt like they were imprisoned once again. They were traumatized again when they were sent back to France on trains, much like the ones that had deported them. When you think about war, we often think about the devastating physical and psychological experiences of soldiers, but while reading this book I kept thinking about the trauma women experience while living in war zones. Everywhere soldiers go, not only during WWII but also in places like Bosnia, Vietnam, or the trail of tears, women are abused. They are raped and subjugated first by the invaders, and later, those lucky enough to survive, are often raped again by their liberators. In this book I learned things I hadn’t learned about WWII when I was in school. I learned about how many babies were born in the camps because the Nazi guards raped the women after being deported. I can understand why my teachers didn’t share this information with high school students, but I think that may have been a mistake. When you shelter people from ugly realities, you don’t protect them, but make them less prepared to deal with the ugly realities of life. There is always a tension between remembering atrocities and the desire to put the past behind us and collectively move on. But I think by not looking at our past with our eyes wide open, we risk forgetting, and ultimately repeating these atrocities. I read some time ago that the Holocaust is hardly taught in schools anymore. Young people only have a vague awareness of what happened, and it was less than 100 years ago. There are still people alive who were prisoners in death camps, and we are collectively already trying to sweep it under the metaphorical rug. I was in high school when “Schindler’s List” came out in theaters. I remember seeing it during a field trip where my class took over the entire cinema. I sat in the darkness watching the little girl in her red coat, cried my eyes out, and vowed to never watch the movie again, despite thinking it was an important and well done film. I had a similar reaction when I saw “Hotel Rwanda” years later, and also while watching “The Killing Fields.” I remember people questioning the morality of telling these stories; of financially profiting off of the agony of millions. And I wondered, too, at the time, if it was okay to make these kinds of movies, and write these kinds of books? Are we glorifying violence and war by telling these war stories? More than 25 years later, I have finally reached my conclusion on the subject. Considering how little children and teenagers are learning about our shared history, I think it is more important than ever to tell these stories. If kids will not learn about these things in school, we should use books, television and film to tell these stories. I think it is especially important to tell these stories because history has been traditionally told by the male victors. I want to hear the stories of women and disenfranchised groups who have been left out of the history books, pushed to the margins, and largely forgotten. But I think it is important for the writers and filmmakers who tell these stories to do so with compassion, respect and authenticity. I think Gwen Strauss accomplished this with her book, The Nine. The Harrowing story of these nine women is a window into the real-life experiences of countless women who survived the camps during WWII.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    This is the story of nine young French women who become part of the French Resistance and then are arrested and imprisoned by the Nazis during WWII. Written by the niece of one of the women, author Gwen Strauss brings to life the womens’ story of uncommon heroism in the face of impossible odds. The Nine were comprised of 6 French, 2 Dutch, and 1 Spanish woman. All were in their 20’s during this time and they were all in the French Résistance, although two had just come into contact with the Rési This is the story of nine young French women who become part of the French Resistance and then are arrested and imprisoned by the Nazis during WWII. Written by the niece of one of the women, author Gwen Strauss brings to life the womens’ story of uncommon heroism in the face of impossible odds. The Nine were comprised of 6 French, 2 Dutch, and 1 Spanish woman. All were in their 20’s during this time and they were all in the French Résistance, although two had just come into contact with the Résistance at the time they were arrested. I think all were tortured in one way or another, with the author’s aunt Hélène (code name Christine) receiving some of the worst treatment. The Nine, having been friends in small groups, all bonded into one cohesive group during their time in the camps. The book recounts their imprisonment in Ravensbrück Concentration Camp in Fürstenberg/Havel, Germany and then at a Kommando, a satellite camp of Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Weimar, Germany that was used to hold prisoners used in slave labor in privately owned factories. The women were rented out to companies in the Nazi war effort such as Siemens, BMW, and others for four Reichsmarks per day for very heavy, dangerous work. Although the women worked, conditions were deplorable and the main cause of death at the Kommandos was starvation. The book explains the nationality mix in the Kommandos with this one holding French, Dutch, Spanish, Poles, and Russian Red Army captives, among others. The Nazis put the Poles in charge and also exploited the nationality differences to try to keep the women from coalescing into one unit. Most of the prisoners were political such as the Résistance fighters and the Russian Red Army soldiers, but there were also Romani and Sinti (what have been called Gypsies in the past), gay women/lesbians, and criminals. Most of the German countryside was told in propaganda that the foreign women, especially French women, in the camps were prostitutes. This made it particularly difficult for The Nine after they escaped their death march. When the Nazis realized they were losing the war and the war superstructure began crashing down, the camps were ordered variously to liquidate (murder) all of their prisoners or put them on death marches. The death marches had no end point, they were just to get the prisoners out of the camps where either the Allies or the Soviet Army could find them. Prisoners on these marches either dropped dead of exhaustion and starvation or they were shot for infractions such as not keeping a straight line. At one point our nine young women made a break for it and rolled into a ditch, hiding among the dead until the long columns of marching prisoners were gone. Then they faced the daunting task of walking through the mostly hostile German countryside looking for the Western Front and the Americans. They found angry, violent, predatory people but they also found those who genuinely wanted to help them and were generous. They had a harrowing crossing over the Spring-swollen River Mulde to the American military but then were treated quite well there. They wanted to go home so they had to leave the American encampment for a refugee camp which was very much like a concentration camp itself. Using their intelligence and ability to speak more than one language, they first ran a home for female former prisoners, and the author’s aunt Hélène wound up in uniform working for the American military as a translator. Eventually all made it back to France and finding what was left of their families is detailed. The author gives us a look at the life of each woman prior to the war via the use of flashbacks in the text. I hope that these are offset in the finished text to enable the reader to smoothly transition into them. The author also continues the narrative of these womens’ lives long after the war and talks about the struggles of each as a survivor. Information about the psychology of the trauma endured is included, along with a discussion of the trauma passed on to the survivors’ children. Although the term “post traumatic stress disorder” is not used, I think it could be. The writing of the text is good for the most part, although transitions from paragraph to paragraph are frequently rough. There need to be some sentences added to smooth out these transitions from thought to thought. The author did a LOT of research in person and a LOT of interviews, and it shows. Of course some of the information for this book comes from the writings of the other women but the author researched and verified that information as much as possible. Tough subject; good job. I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, Gwen Strauss, and NetGalley for providing me with an eGalley of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for writing and publishing this work that reveals so much more about Nazi atrocities against women.

  9. 5 out of 5

    William

    Jan 15/21: Can't wait to read this book, which I will receive as a Giveaway! - - - - - - - - - Feb 26/21: Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for providing me with an Advance Reader Copy of The Nine by Gwen Strauss. My first action after receiving the book: I sent a snap of it's cover to a friend in USA, who commented, "Looks interesting. But depressing." Thus far, though having read only "A Note To Readers" and "Chapter One: Helene," I know that The Nine is just the opposite of depressing. In tell Jan 15/21: Can't wait to read this book, which I will receive as a Giveaway! - - - - - - - - - Feb 26/21: Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for providing me with an Advance Reader Copy of The Nine by Gwen Strauss. My first action after receiving the book: I sent a snap of it's cover to a friend in USA, who commented, "Looks interesting. But depressing." Thus far, though having read only "A Note To Readers" and "Chapter One: Helene," I know that The Nine is just the opposite of depressing. In telling this true story of her great aunt and eight other female resistance fighters, author Strauss has provided an answer to a question she herself asks in the note to her readers: "How do we hold on to the past's truths without letting the past hold us back from living in the present?" One way we do that is by reading books like The Nine. Here are a few brief comments about Chapter One: Helene, one of the nine women of the story: (1) Helene was Strauss's great aunt. She joined the resistance early in the spring of 1943 and was imprisoned late in the winter of 1944, eleven months later. Strauss notes: "The average time a person lasted in the Resistance before being caught was three to six months." (2) Strauss describes an incident in Helene's work for the Resistance that brought to mind a very similar event with which the film Plenty begins. This film is about an English woman who worked in the French resistance. I greatly enjoyed viewing that film; the similarity convinced me that I would as well enjoy reading this book. (3) After her capture, Helene underwent various tortures, one of which involved having her head held under water by her interrogators nearly to the point of her drowning. Strauss calls this torture "waterboarding." As described, it was not like the water torture used by US interrogators on various of their Middle East captives. Perhaps Strauss chose the term because she felt that devilish Nazi methods are still with us in the "enhanced interrogation techniques" used by US "interrogators" as part of their work with the "coalition of the willing." I am much looking forward to reading the rest of this true, and truly stranger than fiction, story. - - - - - - - - - Feb 27/21: Chapter Two: Zaza. It was clear now that the women would not be home for Christmas. . . . At this point, many gave up and turned away from the others. This was deadly. The first sign was usually that a woman no longer washed herself or her clothes. The prisoners had formed a team of "social workers" who would intervene when this happened. They would remind the woman of her children or the other family members waiting for her back home. They said they understood she was too tired to wash her clothes, so they would do it for her. Sometimes a woman had grown mute and refused any help, and then the "social workers" would actually undress her by force and wash her clothes and bathe her. . . . This act of solidarity and care almost always brought the woman back to herself. Striking: that these women, in such desperate circumstances, summoned the will to care for one another in such an extraordinarily personal manner; that we, leading such relatively lighthearted lives, don't manage to do as well. - - - - - - - - - Feb 28/21: Chapter Three: Nicole. The building on the rue de la Pompe became a secret torture and murder centre for the Gestapo, which was operating with extralegal powers. Such "black sites" are an expression of desperation and signal the disintegration of a society whenever they occur in history. At the rue de la Pompe location, there were no trials, just summary executions; there were no legal processes of arrest, just threats and beatings. Surely, Strauss wants us to read this as one of her past's truths coming forward, commenting on our present. - - - - - - - - - March 2/21: Chapter Four: Lon and Guigui. Camaraderie may account for why women on average survived longer in the camps than men did. . . . The nine had to count on each other to survive, and that bond was something they would find hard to replicate later in normal life. Like soldiers who feel a bond of brotherhood after being in battle together, the intensity of their friendships was an essential part of their experience. Strauss's comment here underscores my early feeling (noted above) about a closeness (a connection perhaps in tone) to the fictional account of some post-war lives in the film Plenty, based on David Hare's play of the same name, "the inspiration [for which] came from the fact that 75 per cent of the women engaged in wartime SOE operations divorced in the immediate post-war years." (Wikipedia) - - - - - - - - - March 3/21: Chapter Five: Zinka. Odette had made a makeshift notebook with scraps of discarded paper.... In it she recorded who was with her in the camp, who was transferred, who had been killed.... There is a list of her friends who died.., a list that notes the arrival of a group.... All this clandestine record-keeping.... Looking around the reading room at the archives, I felt the presence of others before me, people like Odette who risked their lives to record and save what they could.., [who] understood the importance of bearing witness.., [who] gave me permission to write this book. Indeed, people who understood that one can "hold on to the past's truths without letting the past hold them back from living in the present." - - - - - - - - - March 5/21: Chapter Six: Josee. The table was nicely set and there was a generous amount of food, but their [host family's] hostility was palpable. This would not be like the meal they had shared with Annelise and her father. Not all meals could be like that, Zaza reasoned later; if they were, then there never would have been a war in the first place. Strauss remarks that the women were guests in name only. Their hosts ate with them only because "the front was near." - - - - - - - - - March 7/21: Chapter Seven: Jacky. Nicole found relief by describing in detail all the steps of a recipe, ingredient by ingredient. She found that talking about food helped. Initially, most of her recipes were cakes, with lots of sugar, butter, and eggs. She described how to make a bavarois with strawberries.... It was a dessert she had prepared many times with the family cook.... "Step one," she said, and everyone grew quiet.... "I could taste it," Jacky said, her eyes bright with fever. "The strawberries and the cream." Strauss notes what seems to her counterintuitive, namely, that "the recitation of recipes ... appears to be a nearly universal reaction among the starving. - - - - - - - - - March 8/21: Chapter Eight: Mena. Helene pointed to the woods.... "That's the Mulde River. That's what we shall cross tomorrow...." There were now new worries to talk over. Perhaps being so close to their goal was frightening. The conversation turned to the crossing of the Mulde River. How would it be done? The bridges had been bombed, so they thought it was likely they would cross by boat.... Lon put it calmly. "It's been days since anyone has crossed the Mulde because it is dangerous, and we will be sitting ducks...." Helene began talking about strategy.... "No trousers. We wear our prison dresses, even in tatters. Those who have hair let it down so it can be seen from a distance. She said what they all surely knew: "We mustn't look like soldiers." - - - - - - - - - March 15/21: Chapter Eleven: Finding the Way Home. In this penultimate chapter, Strauss describes the many difficulties, consequences both physical and psychological of their imprisonment and their escape, facing the survivors as they struggled to feel at home. Returning to this world, feeling misunderstood, the survivors couldn't fit in. Paris had been liberated in August, almost a year earlier. The general population had moved on. It did no good to talk about the camps. No one wanted to hear it. It might be uncomfortable for those who had stayed out of the Resistance and perhaps even out of necessity had collaborated with the enemy. It was a blurry line, and the survivors were an unwelcome reminder of the past. Especially, notes Strauss, the relatively few Jewish survivors. In response, support groups were created by survivors, initially and especially by women, who remembered how important their friendships had been in the camps. Strauss mentions the ADIR, whose newsletter Voix et Visages "played a key role in bearing witness when in the late 1980s Holocaust deniers such as Robert Faurisson published articles with statements such as 'they only gassed lice.'" I began these comments with a mention of the film Plenty; I end them with mention of the film Denial, an adaptation of Deborah Lipstadt's 2005 book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier. The film dramatises the Irving v Penguin Books Ltd case, in which Lipstadt, a Holocaust scholar, was sued by Holocaust denier David Irving for libel. Lipstadt has been quoted as saying "the way of fighting Holocaust deniers is with history and with truth." Strauss has done that with her book Nine Women.

  10. 4 out of 5

    AC

    How do people withstand the most horrific abuses performed by a nation led by a madman? There are many books about soldiers surviving what were basically death camps when they were taken prisoner, about well planned and executed escapes, about spies hanging on, in hiding, while an entire militarized police force look for them. The Nine has all of that, and more. It's the story of nine women, resistance fighters in WWII, captured and interrogated by French police before being sent off to Germany fo How do people withstand the most horrific abuses performed by a nation led by a madman? There are many books about soldiers surviving what were basically death camps when they were taken prisoner, about well planned and executed escapes, about spies hanging on, in hiding, while an entire militarized police force look for them. The Nine has all of that, and more. It's the story of nine women, resistance fighters in WWII, captured and interrogated by French police before being sent off to Germany for interrogation by the Gestapo and ultimately imprisoned at a work camp. The primary focus is on the author's great aunt Hélène Podliasky, who ultimately became the de facto leader of the group as they met one another in their journey from freedom to prison and back to freedom again. Where this book shines comes after all of that - after the beatings, the torture, the forced work, and all manner of atrocities. As Germany was facing defeat, some of the camps, including the one housing The Nine, were sent on forced marches, to move prisoners from outlying areas about to be overrun, to prisons closer to what was left in German hands. During their march, they took a chance and fled the march, running into the forest, heading for France. This journey, free of guards and the wire of prisons, wasn't any easier than that. Along the way, they found both people willing to help them, and people who had no interest in doing so, preferring to turn them in. They also found those who wanted to use them for their own ends - soldiers, for instance, who thought the Allies would look more favorably on them if they were found assisting a group of former prisoners. The author is a poet, and it shows. It's a fantastic piece of narrative nonfiction, although I would say that if you're just dipping your toes into the water of the cruelest parts of WWII, or if you're just learning about it, you might want to start with a broader history first, to understand the whole of the war, then narrow to the final days of the European theater before reading this. Doing so will better inform the reader about that particular point in the war, and how the engineered system developed by the German leadership was breaking down. Much like Night (Elie Wiesel, another must-read), The Nine captures the sense of how it was to live with daily atrocities, and how people came through them. Highly recommended - a five star read. Thanks to St Martin's Press and NetGalley for the review copy Pub date: May 4, 2021

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Thank you to the publisher for a DRC of this book. Books about female spies and resistance workers in WWII France are all the rage right now. To be honest, they've all started blurring in my memory. What makes The Nine different is that this book focuses on a different aspect of that story- escape. The Nine tells the story of nine women who were arrested for resistance work in WWII France. They came from all different parts of Europe (two were Dutch, another Spanish), and did different types of wo Thank you to the publisher for a DRC of this book. Books about female spies and resistance workers in WWII France are all the rage right now. To be honest, they've all started blurring in my memory. What makes The Nine different is that this book focuses on a different aspect of that story- escape. The Nine tells the story of nine women who were arrested for resistance work in WWII France. They came from all different parts of Europe (two were Dutch, another Spanish), and did different types of work before their arrest. Before their arrival in the Nazi concentration camp system, most of them had never met each other. The women were sent to Ravensbruck, the famous women's concentration camp, and then on to a work camp where they worked in a munitions factory. The book tells a little about their experiences in Ravensbruck and subsequent camps, and about their time in the prisons in France before their deportation. But the real focus of the story is what happens in the last days of the war, when the SS, under orders not to let their prisoners fall into the hands of the Allies, emptied the concentration camps and took their prisoners on a march to nowhere, the Death Marches. These women, who had become friends in the camp, escaped from one of these Death Marches, and began their trek across Germany back to France. What made this book interesting to me was the depiction of rural Germany in the last days of the war. During their trek home the women encounter "normal" Germans, POWs, and German soldiers- some friendly, some hostile, and some resolved to the fact that they were about to lose the war and who thought that helping these escaped prisoners might reflect better on them. The nine women must also rely and support each other- a daunting task when faced with the challenges of base survival. I would recommend this title to anyone interested in espionage and resistance during WWII, but not as their first foray into this subject. If they've read and enjoyed The Lost Girls of Paris, A Train at Midnight, or any of the other books on this subject that has come out in the past few years, they will enjoy this book. However, if this is there first introduction to this subject, they may be lost on some of the aspects of the earlier parts of the story that are only briefly discussed.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Reading this book was such an emotional experience...utterly heartbreaking and horrendous yet beautiful and wonderful. I have read over 50 WWII books in the last two months and this one is a standout. My feelings are so difficult to put into words as this book is not fiction. It is about nine young women, Résistance fighters, who were captured, tortured at forced labour camps including Ravensbrück and Leipzig and finally escaped, though the escape was another form of torture. The author, Gwen Str Reading this book was such an emotional experience...utterly heartbreaking and horrendous yet beautiful and wonderful. I have read over 50 WWII books in the last two months and this one is a standout. My feelings are so difficult to put into words as this book is not fiction. It is about nine young women, Résistance fighters, who were captured, tortured at forced labour camps including Ravensbrück and Leipzig and finally escaped, though the escape was another form of torture. The author, Gwen Strauss, the great niece of the leader of the group of nine, Hélène, does not gloss over brutal details such as waterboarding, pitiful "food" and polluted water, stench of rotting flesh, standing naked in lines outside for hours on end, lice, forced labour, seeing brutal murders...and so much more. She describes what the girls did before their arrests (fascinating and inspiring stories!). Strauss interviewed her aunt and descendants of these women...heroines in my view...and wrote the experiences here. And the full stories were not told because they were too unspeakable to mention. How they went through what they did...what they resorted to for mere survival, mentally and physically, at such a young age and then to also have people not believe them and others after is incomprehensible. To allow the enemy to win was certain death so the prisoners became "social workers" to bring each other back to existence. The attitudes toward groups such as the French, Jews, lesbians, Polish, etc. are explained. I loved the sweet recipe sharing and life-saving singing between the women! Each of the women's personalities, skills and characteristics are described in this book as well. We learn how they literally leaned on each other for support in their dark, dark days and nights. When escape finally came it was awful. Food was scarce. Though they didn't experience it personally, the Russians liberation and treatment of prisoners was horrendous. I hadn't thought about how the German villagers would treat escapees but wow...it's all here, too. The girls found kindness as well as hatred. The utter desperation is evident, so well written, yet the women did not feel sorry for themselves. This book is not for everyone (though it should be required reading) as it is very descriptive yet it is also inspirational and packed with information. It will break your heart but feed your soul. But more importantly, it focuses on the incredible, incredible mental strength and spirit of these women. They made the decision to face their situations unwaveringly, to survive. The book ends with how these women "lived" after this nightmare. Strauss follows their journey by visiting these camps with her daughter. What an emotional time that must have been! I learned so much from reading this. It is truly an epic book and will be memorable the rest of my life. It is THAT powerful and moving. My sincere thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this outstanding and breathtaking book in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate it very much.

  13. 4 out of 5

    David Wilson

    “The Nine” by Gwen Strauss The Nine is the true story of a band of women who survived the worst of Nazi Germany. Through rigorous archival research, interviews with survivors, and information gathering from historians Strauss details the harrowing experience of nine women operating in the French Resistance of World War II. From each woman’s life before the war, to working for the Resistance, being captured and tortured by the SS, transported to the infamous Ravensbruck concentration camp, and ev “The Nine” by Gwen Strauss The Nine is the true story of a band of women who survived the worst of Nazi Germany. Through rigorous archival research, interviews with survivors, and information gathering from historians Strauss details the harrowing experience of nine women operating in the French Resistance of World War II. From each woman’s life before the war, to working for the Resistance, being captured and tortured by the SS, transported to the infamous Ravensbruck concentration camp, and eventual escape during a death march; Strauss does a phenomenal job of detailing the gruesome brutality each woman experienced at the hands of the Nazis. More importantly Strauss puts great emphasis on the relationships and bonds between the women in the group, and the relationships they forged with others in the camps. These strong bonds gave them the strength to maintain their humanity during their horrible imprisonment. The most striking example of this was their establishment of a “Sunday Dinner” tradition in the camp. The women would gather together every Sunday evening after being worked to exhaustion and detail their favorite recipes step by step, as if they were making them for everyone to enjoy. Some women went so far as creating recipe books from scraps they salvaged around the camp, and would describe listening to recipes from prisoners of other nationalities as trying “new cuisines”. Strauss also emphasizes the immense toll their captivity had on their mental and physical state. Most of them carried physical injuries and ailments for the rest of their lives, and the mental trauma haunted them constantly. Their lives after the war and the effects of imprisonment are probably the least talked about issue with survivors of the camps, but Strauss dedicates the time and research to telling this part of the women’s story that it deserves. “The Nine” is an essential read for anyone looking for more than just a numbers and dates account of the horrors of Nazism, it delivers the story of human resilience the victims deserve.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    This is a story about nine incredibly courageous women that you will not soon forget. Despite every harrowing obstacle and predicament these young women held tight to the bonds of their friendship and their will to survive. They supported, protected, and encouraged one another throughout every single adversity. "The Nine" brings to life, with vivid detail, all that Helene, Lon, Jacky, Josee, Mena, Zinka, Zaza, Nicole, and Guigui endured during World War II and in the years after. Thank you to au This is a story about nine incredibly courageous women that you will not soon forget. Despite every harrowing obstacle and predicament these young women held tight to the bonds of their friendship and their will to survive. They supported, protected, and encouraged one another throughout every single adversity. "The Nine" brings to life, with vivid detail, all that Helene, Lon, Jacky, Josee, Mena, Zinka, Zaza, Nicole, and Guigui endured during World War II and in the years after. Thank you to author, Gwen Strauss, and all who contributed to this book and to the preservation of countless other survivors' stories. While I fully understand the reluctance that many survivors felt in sharing their stories, it breaks my heart that more oftentimes than not it was more than likely a matter of not feeling as though they were permitted to recount the horrors of the past. My Memere was born in the same generation (1923) and was of the mindset that unpleasant memories were best left in the past and not repeated. In so doing the floodgates of complicity might have been more than those around them (such as their fellow countrymen) could handle. Instead silence was preferred to verbal testimony and reanimation of the atrocities endured. Unfortunately, that attempt at smothering the past undoubtedly added to the trauma of the survivors as well as their children. Humanity tends to continue this pattern and needs to learn to heal these hurts while also preserving the past in order to learn from it. Let us never repeat such a horrific chapter in human history again. For the sake of those who were lost, those who survived, and for our children - and theirs - let us learn from the past and grow towards a far more peaceful future. I am in awe of these remarkable ladies and wish that such tragedies had never transpired. Let us hope and work toward a far brighter future. A special thank you to BookishFirst, St Martin's Press, and Gwen Strauss for providing me with an advanced copy of this amazing story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily Preun

    "Perhaps we need to wonder about our tendencies to form hierarchies of suffering, especially when those hierarchies are based on a concept of female purity." -Gwen Strauss,The Nine. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 I finished The Nine this morning and I have so many thoughts to share. This is a true story of 9 brave women who founded and joined the Resistance during WWII, they would go on to each be arrested, tortured, and sent to various concentrations camps before setting out on a harrowing death march where The Nine na "Perhaps we need to wonder about our tendencies to form hierarchies of suffering, especially when those hierarchies are based on a concept of female purity." -Gwen Strauss,The Nine. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 I finished The Nine this morning and I have so many thoughts to share. This is a true story of 9 brave women who founded and joined the Resistance during WWII, they would go on to each be arrested, tortured, and sent to various concentrations camps before setting out on a harrowing death march where The Nine narrowly escape. This story is told by the author, @gwenskioski in first person and I really loved the way we dived in and out of present and past tense. I can't even imagine the blood, sweat, and tears that were poured into the research of this book. This story is so important for so many reasons. • It's the first time all nine stories have been put into one book. Many of the women wrote their own books accounting this incredible story, but this is the first all in one account. •It highlights so many groups that were marginalized during the Holocaust that you might not know about or think about. •This book allows for women to be highlighted for the bravery they showed during WWII. It explains the stigmatizing shame that came at the end of the war and silenced women of telling their stories. It describes how women were rarely acknowledged for their sacrifices and contributions. It was encouraged that the men get the credit for they had been "humiliated enough" as if pretty girls in their 20's did not experience the same horrors. •This book is horrifying and yet incredibly beautiful. I used my 'serendipity' bookmark during this read and by the end I realized it could not have been more fitting. As a group, they found Serendipity within themselves and through each other. Their friendship saved them. •If you have any interest at all in feminism, history, the Holocaust, and female empowerment, this will be an incredible read. I encourage anyone and everyone to pick up a copy when it is released on May 4/21.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Susan Beamon

    This is the story of nine young women who had been captured by the Germans and transported to various concentration and labor camps during World War II. The things that got them into trouble, mostly being in the resistance fighting against Nazi policies, are mentioned in flashbacks. The book is mostly about the escape this group made during the death march their group of prisoners was on. It is not the story of one or two women, but of the group as a whole. They would not have made it to the fro This is the story of nine young women who had been captured by the Germans and transported to various concentration and labor camps during World War II. The things that got them into trouble, mostly being in the resistance fighting against Nazi policies, are mentioned in flashbacks. The book is mostly about the escape this group made during the death march their group of prisoners was on. It is not the story of one or two women, but of the group as a whole. They would not have made it to the front lines and back to Paris without all of them working together. Each of the early chapters did concentrate on one of the women. We get their past, the things they did as resistance work, how they were captured and where they met other members of the group. They partnered up early in their captivity, and worked to remain in the same labor group. By the time the war was winding down and they were moved from camp to camp, they were a tight group. When the opportunity to escape came, they went as a unit. They stayed that way until they crossed the front line, regardless of the temptations to split up. The middle section of chapters concentrated on the escape. They were on foot in a foreign country that was still at war. There was little food. Shelter was mostly in barns or ditches. They were ill, hungry and cold. Still they found help on the way. The final chapters covered the years after the war. Some of the women wrote about their experiences. Others didn't tell anyone what had happened to them. The book was written by the great-niece of the unacknowledged leader of the group. Even she had trouble getting information from the survivors. It does seem to be a time that the people who lived through wanted to completely forget. Even now, information is scarce. I received the copy of the book I read for this review from BookishFirst.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kee Hoo

    THE NINE by Gwen Strauss The Nine is about 9 women who banded together in friendship during World War 2, who planned and escaped captivity from the Nazis. The author has done extensive research on all nine of the women, one of which was her great-aunt Helene Podliasky. Most of the women had nicknames, which they are all referred to in the book. Helene's nickname was Christine. The Nine: Christine Zara Nicole Lon Guigui Zinka Josee Jacky Mena The women were of different nationalities, most were arrested in P THE NINE by Gwen Strauss The Nine is about 9 women who banded together in friendship during World War 2, who planned and escaped captivity from the Nazis. The author has done extensive research on all nine of the women, one of which was her great-aunt Helene Podliasky. Most of the women had nicknames, which they are all referred to in the book. Helene's nickname was Christine. The Nine: Christine Zara Nicole Lon Guigui Zinka Josee Jacky Mena The women were of different nationalities, most were arrested in Paris. Most were members of the Resistance, spies, fighting for freedom against oppression for all peoples. Some of the women knew each other before they were arrested, most were non-Jewish. Several of the women were tortured before being sent on towards the Nazi concentration camps. One woman was very pregnant when arrested, she gave birth in a French prison, her baby was smuggled out and was raised for the remaining war years, by other family members. The nine women were on the death marches near the end of World War II when they saw an opportunity and used it to escape guaranteed death. Several of the women were fluent in several languages and were able to convince the local officials of the towns they passed through that they were simply a group of French girls who had been factory workers, who were anxious to return home to Paris. Author Gwen Strauss has done extensive research into the backgrounds and lives of all nine of the women. It is a courageous story of hope and devotion to one another. Highly recommend it, it gives you a look at a different side of the war, the women who fought so selflessly for the war effort and were punished to the breaking point for their beliefs. Much gratitude to #stmartinspress for the complimentary copy of #thenine, I was under no obligation to post a review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Schachter

    The Nine is a true story about nine women who met during their time as Nazi prisoners and banded together to find their way to freedom. They endured extreme conditions in the concentration camps, imprisoned as political prisoners. Each was caught while active in the resistance movement. The author's grandmother is one of the nine, and through a lot of research, Strauss honors each woman's story. A book like this is ever more important in the current political climate, where people are turning ag The Nine is a true story about nine women who met during their time as Nazi prisoners and banded together to find their way to freedom. They endured extreme conditions in the concentration camps, imprisoned as political prisoners. Each was caught while active in the resistance movement. The author's grandmother is one of the nine, and through a lot of research, Strauss honors each woman's story. A book like this is ever more important in the current political climate, where people are turning against one another just for having opposing views/beliefs. We must work to remember the horrors of the past ("lest we forget") or we are doomed to repeat them. The book is set up so that the initial first eight chapters introduce you to each of the nine women. It took longer to read because it is such a dense and emotional topic. Strauss entwines both their backgrounds and stories, into the current plot of their escape from a final death march. At times I felt some of the transitions between the "present" (their harrowing journey across war-torn Germany) and the "past" (telling you each woman's background) was a bit jerky. However, overall it is an extremely impactful story, all the more powerful in its truth. I very much enjoyed the historical fiction aspects (where Strauss creates dialogue between the characters) and felt that she does a great service to each woman in her representation. It is clearly well researched and accurate, but not dry in the least. The reader is completely immersed in the writing, feeling the fears and joys of each woman during their perilous trek. I am so thrilled to have received an ARC of this novel and have been recommending it since I first started reading it. Thank you to BookishFirst and St Martin's Press for the copy, and to Gwen Strauss for writing this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marti

    This was an amazing story of nine women who survived World War II in a German concentration camp and escaped during a death march as the war was ending and made their way home. The most inspiring aspect of the story was the ways in which these women and the others with them in the camp formed strong bonds and community to help sustain them through unimaginable brutality in the camp and hardship on their journey after escaping. Strauss did an amazing job of interweaving the women's stories (inclu This was an amazing story of nine women who survived World War II in a German concentration camp and escaped during a death march as the war was ending and made their way home. The most inspiring aspect of the story was the ways in which these women and the others with them in the camp formed strong bonds and community to help sustain them through unimaginable brutality in the camp and hardship on their journey after escaping. Strauss did an amazing job of interweaving the women's stories (including her own aunt who was one of the nine) as they worked with the French Resistance and then were captured, tortured, sent to the camp, and finally made their way home after escaping during the death march. While it is a non-fiction book the story is told so powerfully that you drawn in as if it were a novel. Much of Strauss's research to flesh out the story of the nine women involved talking with the families of the nine and the stories from the later generations did a good job of illustrating the inter-generational trauma of these families and how many of the survivors of this horrific time in history buried the stories in attempts to continue on with their lives which was not always a successful strategy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Smbergin

    Gwen Strauss’s narrative non-fiction, The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany, delivers a reading experience that rivals the best historical novels. It’s a gripping survival story of female resistance fighters captured, tortured, sent to a concentration camp, and escaped during a death march. Strauss tells about each of the women before the war, why they joined the resistance movements and in what capacity, their capture, the character attributes that c Gwen Strauss’s narrative non-fiction, The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany, delivers a reading experience that rivals the best historical novels. It’s a gripping survival story of female resistance fighters captured, tortured, sent to a concentration camp, and escaped during a death march. Strauss tells about each of the women before the war, why they joined the resistance movements and in what capacity, their capture, the character attributes that contributed to the group’s survival, and how their emotional scars shaped their ultimate paths in life. I marveled over the kindnesses, compassion, and extreme acts of solidarity that ultimately led to the group’s survival and shuddered at the incomprehensible horrors they, and so many others, endured. The book was well-researched and thought-provoking. The book is somewhat of a dense read and tended to veer off on interesting tangents, but I learned a tremendous amount and was never frustrated by the diversion. I especially enjoyed the pictured sprinkled throughout and the characters’ candid descriptions, both positive and not-so-positive. Thank you to BookishFirst and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Belsterling

    ✨The Nine✨ 4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 #fourandahalf Thank you @netgalley & @stmartinspress for this Advance e-copy of “The Nine”! What an amazing story. This is a story of Nine women during WWII who were apart of the Résistance. These are true stories of what happened. This is about their time imprisoned & their escape. Each chapter features the woman’s stories which makes them super long which is my only little qualm. This is a nonfiction book so there were facts but the story also felt like a fiction read a ✨The Nine✨ 4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 #fourandahalf Thank you @netgalley & @stmartinspress for this Advance e-copy of “The Nine”! What an amazing story. This is a story of Nine women during WWII who were apart of the Résistance. These are true stories of what happened. This is about their time imprisoned & their escape. Each chapter features the woman’s stories which makes them super long which is my only little qualm. This is a nonfiction book so there were facts but the story also felt like a fiction read at the same time. You can hardly believe these things happened but they did. It’s honestly amazing hearing about the women & men who worked in Résistance against Nazi Germans... I’d like to think I’d be brave & strong enough to do the same in these awful circumstances. The greatest part about this book is that these nine women had each other and stuck together to survive. These women were brave, smart, & strong! So happy I got to know their story. The author asked her Tante Hélène (one of the nine women we learn about 😉) if she was ever scared. She said no. That even with the risks she was happy to help fight for her country. 😭 Happy Sunday friends! ❤️ If you’re interested in reading about amazing women during WWII this book is for you! ✨Pub Date May 4th,2021! 😍

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Cha

    I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway! I have read other books about the holocaust. I never heard of the Resistance. I did not know much about the non-Jews in the holocaust. The subject matter is fascinating. Anything, about the holocaust, can be overwhelming. I always learn new ways that they were tortured in reading a holocaust book. This book was so much more than the horrific tales of the holocaust. This book is a real story of friendship. How friends encourage and survive in the worst of I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway! I have read other books about the holocaust. I never heard of the Resistance. I did not know much about the non-Jews in the holocaust. The subject matter is fascinating. Anything, about the holocaust, can be overwhelming. I always learn new ways that they were tortured in reading a holocaust book. This book was so much more than the horrific tales of the holocaust. This book is a real story of friendship. How friends encourage and survive in the worst of circumstances. The book tells how the women escaped and survived the torture camp. You learn more about the women's stories from their families (and some of their writings). You really felt like you knew the 9 women and what their lives were like. The book reads fairly quickly. At times, I had to put it down, to absorb the horrors and give my mind a break. I am so grateful to the author for all her work on this book. This must not have been an easy book to write (or research). I know want to learn more about the Resistance movement of the holocaust. It is a book I would definitely read again. A great book for everyone.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I really enjoyed reading this account, it was well written, interesting and informative. I always appreciate learning more about World War II from different viewpoints/populations that were impacted by their time in concentration camps and, in this specific case, how these women were able to escape the Death March to find the Americans on the front. Their stories are both captivating and emotional. I also appreciate that Gwen Strauss takes a modern, Feminist approach to telling this story, illum I really enjoyed reading this account, it was well written, interesting and informative. I always appreciate learning more about World War II from different viewpoints/populations that were impacted by their time in concentration camps and, in this specific case, how these women were able to escape the Death March to find the Americans on the front. Their stories are both captivating and emotional. I also appreciate that Gwen Strauss takes a modern, Feminist approach to telling this story, illuminating how what we know of WWII and womens' experience have been limited and how we may need to think/evaluate things slightly differently to get an accurate picture. I also agree with the author that sharing these stories and having memorials, etc. is of critical importance. I have previously read another story about women resistance workers in Paris and their experiences with deportation and, while it did parallel this story somewhat, I did not find this story to be any less intriguing and I continued to learn even more. Now that I've finished reading this book, I plan on following up by watching a documentary associated with the Nine!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    The Nine is an excellent inside story from WWII history. February 2021 weather stories from the state of Texas and other areas in the United States - freezing temperatures, lack of water, lack of food- might bring new understanding of how severe conditions were for the nine young women who dared to resist the Nazi regime. Knowing that these nine people are real and having their photographs included in the book - THE NINE- really takes the reader back in time. You will feel their starvation and u The Nine is an excellent inside story from WWII history. February 2021 weather stories from the state of Texas and other areas in the United States - freezing temperatures, lack of water, lack of food- might bring new understanding of how severe conditions were for the nine young women who dared to resist the Nazi regime. Knowing that these nine people are real and having their photographs included in the book - THE NINE- really takes the reader back in time. You will feel their starvation and understand that the flower petals they jam into their mouths are ambrosia at that moment. There are heartbreaking details about daughters who helped their weaker mothers onto carts in order to ride to the destination instead of walking; unfortunately, they did not know that they had just identified their family members as the first ones to be cremated. When the young women arrive at a death camp, they are confronted with this scene: "On June 14, 1944, when Hélène arrived, the camp was covered in mud and reeked of rotting flesh, human excrement, and dense, ashy smoke from the crematorium." This book seems to be an important addition to World War II history.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Lund

    This beautifully written true story of nine brave women that escaped the horrors of Nazi Germany, had me captivated from the first page. The author, Gwenn Strauss, did a beautiful job capturing and preserving each of the characters different personalities throughout the book. This close knit group of nine women trekked across Europe during World War ll to freedom with just the clothes on their backs, hungry and exhausted. Along the way, they do find kind, generous people to help with shelter and This beautifully written true story of nine brave women that escaped the horrors of Nazi Germany, had me captivated from the first page. The author, Gwenn Strauss, did a beautiful job capturing and preserving each of the characters different personalities throughout the book. This close knit group of nine women trekked across Europe during World War ll to freedom with just the clothes on their backs, hungry and exhausted. Along the way, they do find kind, generous people to help with shelter and food. But at the same time, danger lurks everywhere. Throughout this book, there are photos of the main characters so that you are able to put a name to the face. I thought this was a nice added touch as it makes it more personal and enables you to really, truly see who these women were. I thought this was a beautifully written book. It tells of some untold truths you may not find in a history book. I am in no way a history buff, nor do I gravitate towards true stories, but this book right here reeled me in and kept me up until the wee hours of the morning because I couldn't put it down.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    The Nine is a story about 9 young women, each in their 20’s, who independently joined the Resistance against Germany in various different ways. All were captured and put in German prisons, which is where they met. The story details all of their trials and tribulations in camp, their bonding as a group, decision to escape as a group, execution of that plan, route, and encounters along that path to freedom (Freedom was reaching the front line where the Americans were located). Prior to their escap The Nine is a story about 9 young women, each in their 20’s, who independently joined the Resistance against Germany in various different ways. All were captured and put in German prisons, which is where they met. The story details all of their trials and tribulations in camp, their bonding as a group, decision to escape as a group, execution of that plan, route, and encounters along that path to freedom (Freedom was reaching the front line where the Americans were located). Prior to their escape during a death march, they were beaten, deprived of food and water, and tortured. These WWII stories about women are not mentioned like they are for men The book finished with details of these women’s life after the war/freedom, how prison impacted them and their families. The nine women ultimately went their separate ways, maintaining only minimal if any contact after their experiences. The story was presented very well. I received an ARC copy of the book and all comments and thoughts are my unbiased opinion. Thanks #bookishfirst ! #TheNine #GwenStrauss

  27. 5 out of 5

    MizzyRed

    This is such an interesting historical look at a band of 9 of the bravest, strong women I have read about who survived the horrors of being arrested for resistance against the Nazis and subsequently tortured and sent to the camps before making a break for it during the last death march and making it to freedom. I am glad I was able to know just from the title that they would all survive because there are harrowing times listed in this book. I am in awe about these women and am really glad I got This is such an interesting historical look at a band of 9 of the bravest, strong women I have read about who survived the horrors of being arrested for resistance against the Nazis and subsequently tortured and sent to the camps before making a break for it during the last death march and making it to freedom. I am glad I was able to know just from the title that they would all survive because there are harrowing times listed in this book. I am in awe about these women and am really glad I got the chance to read this book. Yes, it is fairly graphic at times, but that it to be expected when reading about the Nazis and their camps and exterminations of so many good people that they deemed not worthy to live. This was a well written and well researched book with the author going into much detail, not only about the run to freedom, but the lives of these nine women and how they grew up to be the women that were able to survive and go on living even after the horrors they experienced. I definitely recommend this book if you want to learn more about this time in history.

  28. 5 out of 5

    B.

    I received an ARC through Bookish First. The first look excerpt on this one was so engaging that I used my points to get a copy. I was really looking forward to it. Over time, however, the story just broke down. It became almost painfully clear that the author was truly telling the story of her great aunt, as it had been passed down through family history, and not telling the story within the sphere of a historical context. With the right amount of research, this book could have been great. With I received an ARC through Bookish First. The first look excerpt on this one was so engaging that I used my points to get a copy. I was really looking forward to it. Over time, however, the story just broke down. It became almost painfully clear that the author was truly telling the story of her great aunt, as it had been passed down through family history, and not telling the story within the sphere of a historical context. With the right amount of research, this book could have been great. With a greater focus on placing events in context, instead of trying to tell her aunt's story while sitting by a fire (the image that comes to mind), this could have been a very powerful book. As it was, it went from powerful to rather lackluster really quick, giving the story qualities more akin to fiction than historical fact. It's my honest opinion that the women in this narrative deserved better representation than that which was provided in the ARC.

  29. 5 out of 5

    N

    This non-fiction book gives another view of women in World War II. It’s very heart wrenching , showing the brutality during that period in history. It’s a harrowing story about nine women resistance fighters who because of their activities during the war were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. They became friends through their ordeal and learned to depend on each other to survive. They challenged life through their struggle, their tragedy, their duty and sorrow and fought for their life. Th This non-fiction book gives another view of women in World War II. It’s very heart wrenching , showing the brutality during that period in history. It’s a harrowing story about nine women resistance fighters who because of their activities during the war were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. They became friends through their ordeal and learned to depend on each other to survive. They challenged life through their struggle, their tragedy, their duty and sorrow and fought for their life. They met the challenge and confronted the struggle. Their lives were interconnected by the war and their friendship came out of that. This was well researched and carefully written. You really engage with the women and connect to their story. Take the emotional journey with these nine women. It’s deeply moving and one that you won’t easily forget. It truly shows the best and the worst of humanity.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pooja

    *Disclaimer: I received this book as an advanced reader copy, won via raffle.* Books about world war II have always been interesting to me, and this book was no exception. It was beautifully written and absolutely heartbreaking and mesmerizing to read the story of the group of women bonding in prison in Nazi Germany. I won't say much, at the risk of spoiling the book, but to anyone looking for a riveting story with strong protagonists and a whirlwind of emotions, I highly, highly recommend this *Disclaimer: I received this book as an advanced reader copy, won via raffle.* Books about world war II have always been interesting to me, and this book was no exception. It was beautifully written and absolutely heartbreaking and mesmerizing to read the story of the group of women bonding in prison in Nazi Germany. I won't say much, at the risk of spoiling the book, but to anyone looking for a riveting story with strong protagonists and a whirlwind of emotions, I highly, highly recommend this book. Perhaps what was the most impactful was remembering that this is a true story, which until now had gone untold. Reading about their bravery, friendship, cleverness, and courage was an honor, especially considering how young they were, all of them just in their 20s. It was also astonishing to remember that one of the women was actually the author's great aunt, making the story just that much more impactful and personal.

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