The Counterfeit Countess: The Jewish Woman Who Rescued Thousands of Poles During the Holocaust

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Product Details
$28.99  $26.96
Simon & Schuster
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.0 X 1.3 inches | 1.1 pounds
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About the Author
Dr. Elizabeth "Barry" White recently retired from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where she served as historian and as Research Director for the USHMM's Center for the Prevention of Genocide. Prior to working for the USHMM, Barry spent a career at the US Department of Justice working on investigations and prosecutions of Nazi criminals and other human rights violators. She served as deputy director and chief historian of the Office of Special Investigations and as deputy chief and chief historian of the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section. She lives in Falls Church, Virginia.

Dr. Joanna Sliwa is a historian at the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) in New York, where she also administers academic programs. She previously worked at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and at the Museum of Jewish Heritage--A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. She has taught Holocaust and Jewish history at Kean University and at Rutgers University and has served as a historical consultant and researcher, including for the PBS film In the Name of Their Mothers: The Story of Irena Sendler. Her first book, Jewish Childhood in Kraków: A Microhistory of the Holocaust won the 2020 Ernst Fraenkel Prize awarded by the Wiener Holocaust Library. She lives in Linden, New Jersey.
"A story of courage, compassion, and cunning so profound that it must be included with the greatest Holocaust literature. Janina Mehlberg is a heroine for the ages."--Larry Loftis, New York Times bestselling author of The Watchmaker's Daughter
"The Counterfeit Countess is an extraordinary testament to courage, resilience and humanity during the darkest months of the Holocaust. Beautifully crafted and meticulously researched by two of America's powerhouse World War II historians, this riveting story will ensure that the world never forgets the utterly remarkable Josephine Janina Mehlberg and an epic rescue mission that defied great evil. You will not put this book down until the very last word -- it is a stunning piece of Holocaust history that will stick with you long after you're done." --Debbie Cenziper, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Citizen 865: The Hunt for Hitler's Hidden Soldiers in America
"A stunning masterpiece of a book about a previously overlooked hero of the war and the Holocaust. Never betraying any fear, 'Countess Suchodolska' performed seemingly impossible miracles again and again, routinely risking her life to save thousands of Polish prisoners in the Majdanek concentration camp. Elizabeth B. White and Joanna Sliwa have performed their own miracle by meticulously reconstructing her story and giving her the long-overdue recognition she so fully deserves."--Andrew Nagorski, author of Saving Freud: The Rescuers Who Brought Him To Freedom
"Part biography, part adventure tale, The Counterfeit Countess is the astonishing history of "Countess Janina Suchodolska," a heroic Polish Jewish woman who rescued thousands of Catholic Poles during the Holocaust. Historians Elizabeth White and Joanna Sliwa turned sleuths as they painstakingly pieced together the story of her wartime activities from shards of information scattered across archives in Europe and North America. A riveting account of moral courage and an enduring commitment to save lives." --Debórah Dwork, director, Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity, The Graduate Center--City University of New York
"Powerful. . . . A heart-wrenching profile of resilience, ingenuity, and heroism."-- "Publishers Weekly"
"Holocaust historians White and Sliwa masterfully piece together the previously untold story of a Jewish mathematician who, during the Nazi occupation of Poland, masqueraded as a countess while she helped free and feed thousands of Poles imprisoned at the Majdanek concentration camp." -- "Library Journal (starred review)"
"A fine delineation of personal heroism amid an era of utter human depravity."-- "Kirkus Reviews"
The remarkable story of Janina Mehlberg almost didn't see the light of day. . . . The publication of The Counterfeit Countess is the result of the painstakingwork of historical researchers and archivists who know the value of unearthing anarrative like this one, otherwise in danger of being forgotten. The result is agenuine contribution to scholarship that is also a memorable, inspiring tale ofindividual heroism."--Michael S. Roth "The Wall Street Journal"
"The Coun­ter­feit Count­ess is a grip­ping tale of one woman's grit and courage in the face of unimag­in­able ter­ror. That it is only avail­able today, more than fifty years after Hen­ry Mehlberg first attempt­ed to get it pub­lished, is a reminder of how many Holo­caust sto­ries remain untold."--Hallel Yadin "Jewish Book Council"
"The book is part adventure-war story, part inspirational tale of right winning over might, all of it thoroughly researched. It is all the more effective for being true and being told with vibrant energy so that Janina almost steps off the page."--Marissa Moss "New York Journal of Books"