A Vintage Nerd Book Club: Women Heroes of WWII

There are just some things I feel strongly that humanity should never forget and the generation of men and women who fought and lived through World War II is one of them. The horrors that humanity endured are nothing new, sad but true but we should never forget what people are capable of. People are capable of acts that derive from nightmares but people are also capable of acts that derive from what I can call, the stuff that heroes are made of.

I personally feel that heroes can be anyone. Just as we are all capable of doing horrible things we are just as capable of doing things we never thought we were able to do. We are capable of pushing ourselves to the limit, the put aside fear and push through whatever mess is put in front of us and preserve.

I think we are amazing. And one amazing point in our human history that strikes a cord with me over and over again in the time we spent fighting for freedom and human rights during World War II. And let's not mention that the American's fought on two parts of the world. I mean, darn, our boys were tough!

I can across this wonderful book written by Kathryn J. Atwood called Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espiange, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue. The book is broken down to segments of countries and highlighted some of the bravest women I have heard of in a long time. It made me feel proud of my sex but also made me feel proud that people stood up for what was right and looked at the evil that people around them were creating and fought against it. The countries mentioned are: Germany, Poland, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain, and The United States. The lives and works of 26 outstanding women are highlighted in a way that not only do you get a glimpse of who they were/are, but it creates an appetite to want to know more.

Before I share some of the heroes that moved me the most, I would like to point on some fantastic things I found in this book. First I must applaud the author of explaining in terms that anyone could understand, the complications and exact breakdown of how the war began, why, and how it progressed. I love that she did that and it really gave me a clear background in which I could envision these women doing the deeds that they so bravely accomplished.

Each segment (countries) also explains what was happening the country that includes the heroines. Also, you will find added information that are boxed off as well as photos and further reading recommendations.
If you decided to read this book, which I hope some of you are able to at some point, be prepared to be filled with all sorts of thoughts and emotions. The stories inside are frank and you may find yourself feeling and thinking things you didn't expect to. The stories of these women are OUR stories. No matter what country they were from, what language they spoke, or what God they worshiped-they are us and we are them.

Many of the stories touched me deeply but one haunted me. I suspect it is because I am a mother but the story of Irena Sendler kept me at the edge of my seat. Mind you this is just a part of her story. Irena was a Polish nurse and social worker who was also Roman Catholic. While she worked as a social worker she teamed up with some of her co-workers and attempted to smuggle children of all ages out of the ghettos.

Imagine a strange women that you have never seen or heard of before knocking on your door in this make shift community and telling you quietly that she may be able to save the life of your child but to do so you must had them over. What? Huh? My mind still reels from that. I put myself in the shoes of those parents and I can only imagine the ones who did decide to take the risk of saving their child's life died inside when they handed them over.

Sometimes I think it is invaluable to our human condition to put ourselves in the shoes of another and just for a moment try and grasp their situation. What would I do? Would I trust this stranger with my babies? Would I ever see their little faces again? Irena was able to save many of these children from infants to teenagers. Altogether she helped save about 400 children. She saved their names in a jar and kept it buried in hopes of reuniting them with their Jewish names/heritage as well as their families. Sadly, many of them never saw their families again because many of those parents perished in the Treblinka camp.

Irena's story was simple. She asked herself one day, "what can I do to help?" and she found a way. She lived to the beautiful age of 98 years old and was not only reunited with many children that she saved but also connected with many young people over the years and shared her story.

All of the women in this book as well as those who are unknown to us were heroes. Plain and simple. At the end of the book you may ask yourself, "what would I do?" and I think it is an important question to ask.

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  1. sounds like a good read

    retro rover

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting a spotlight on the courageous Irena Sendler!!!! She is a huge hero of mine and I think we could all strive to remember be as sacrificial like her!

  3. I haven't read book but I know this must be a wonderfull book because I already talked with her on facebook about the book and she told me many things about it etc. Kathryn is a very, very kind person, so if you would have a question, than you just have to ask it and she will tell you everything about it, it's really her passion!

  4. This sounds really interesting, will put it on my reading list.

  5. Touching, wise words and an absolutely wonderful post, dear Daffny, I couldn't agree more with you about the profound importance of always remembering the valiant acts of those who helped ensure that after countless mind-blowing atrocities of war, good ultimately triumphed once more.

    ♥ Jessica

  6. Just got it and another one of hers for my Nook. Thanks for the recommendation! Until I can get my hands on a physical copy!! I feel really strongly about this as well. It's so important to remember these amazing heroes.

  7. I can't wait to read this. Really, really great post. <3
    ~xoxo, CoriLynn


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