Rich Cohen is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Tough Jews, The Avengers, Monsters, and (with Jerry Weintraub) When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead. He is a co-creator of the HBO series Vinyl and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone and has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Harper's Magazine, among others. Cohen has won the Great Lakes Book Award, the Chicago Public Library's 21st Century Award, and the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for outstanding coverage of music. His stories have been included in The Best American Essays and The Best American Travel Writing. He lives in Connecticut.
Rich Cohen's website
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A Conversation with Rich Cohen, author of The Avengers: A Jewish War Story
Who were the Avengers?
The Avengers were a group of young Jews, some still in their teens, who found themselves caught in the Holocaust; who, given a choice to get on the trains or to go underground, to die or to fight, chose to fight. Abba Kovner, who was the leader of the group, phrased the dilemma this way: "If we act cowardly, we die; if we act courageously, we die. So we might as well act courageously." The story centers around Abba Kovner, Vitka Kempner and Ruzka Korczak. Vitka and Ruzka, who were from towns in Western Poland, had fled the German invasion on foot, walking clear to Vilna, which later became the capital of Lithuania, where they met Abba, a young Zionist leader. From then on, the lives of these three young people were entangled -- in love and in war. When the Jews of the city were locked in a ghetto, they formed an underground, smuggling and stealing weapons, spreading the call to revolt, going on raids. At nineteen, Vitka led a mission to the forest, where she blew up an enemy troop train -- the first sabotage in Occupied Europe. When the Germans liquidated the ghetto, Abba led the group through the sewers and into the forest, ...
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