Book Beginnings: Rather Die Fighting by Frank Blaichman

Not only does Gilion host the European Reading and TBR 22 in 22 on her Rose City Reader blog but also Book Beginnings on Friday. While I’m no stranger to her European Reading Challenge, only recently I decided to participate in Book Beginnings on Friday. This week I’m back with another post.

For Book Beginnings on Friday Gilion asks us to simply “share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week, or just a book that caught your fancy and you want to highlight.”


On the morning of September 1, 1939, the church bells of Kamionka rang as word spread that the mayor would be making an important announcement. We lived two hundred yards or so from the town hall, and my father and I hurried over to join the crowd that was gathering in the square. When the bells stopped ringing, the mayor came out to stand on the steps of the town hall, flanked by the.chief of police and other officials. The Germans.had invaded Poland, he said. They had crossed the border early that morning. We were at war.

Last week I featured Yasmina Khadra’s 2006 novel The Attack and the week before that Kitty Veldis’s 2018 historical novel Not Our Kind. This  week I’m back to nonfiction with Frank Blaichman’s 2009 Rather Die Fighting: A Memoir of World War II.

After spotting this at the public library last weekend I once again decided to deviate from my original 20 Books of Summer  This first hand account of a young Jewish partisan fighting the Nazis and their collaborators in occupied Poland during the Second War War looked like the ideal book for Rose City Reader’s European Reading Challengeand thus too hard to pass up. The description on Amazon sets the scene:

Frank Blaichman was sixteen years old when the war broke out. In 1942, the killings began in Poland. With his family and friends decimated by the roundups, Blaichman decided that he would rather die fighting; he set off for the forest to find the underground bunkers of Jews who had already escaped. Together they formed a partisan force dedicated to fighting the Germans.


10 thoughts on “Book Beginnings: Rather Die Fighting by Frank Blaichman

  1. I can’t get enough of World War II books, particularly about the war in Europe and the Nazis. There are lots of good memoirs andsome pretty good fiction, too, without being corny.


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