While just about everyone has heard the story of Anne Frank, how many have ever heard of Essie Shor and her story as a teenage fighter with the Bielski Partisans? My awareness came about rather serendipitously. After watching the movie Defiance, I wanted to know more about heroes of this story: the Bielski Brothers who fought to save more than 1,200 of their fellow Jews in Belarus from annihilation by the Nazis.

One of the recommended books was about Essie Shor, who was only 16 when the Nazis invaded her country and slaughtered her whole family except for her and her father. She escaped from the ghetto and was one of the first group of Jews to join her cousins, the Bielski Brothers, who valiantly vowed to FIGHT BACK! Essie wrote, “Living in the forest, we no longer felt like cattle as we had in the ghetto…. This was a different kind of fear. We went from being caged to be hunted.”

Essie was proud to be a resistance fighter and learned how to protect herself and her fellow Jews in their forest community. Essie’s story is written in a straightforward manner in less than a hundred pages. She is still alive, now 80 years old, a retired school teacher living in New York.

-Sioux Remer

Thanks for checking out our virtual quilt and learning about 31 inspiring women.

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