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Tough Jews

Rich Cohen uncovers secret tale of Nazi resistance fighters in "The Avengers."


As twilight descended upon the forest of Ponar, Rich Cohen gazed upon the green canyons where the Vilna Jews died in the Shoah. He took photographs of the treetops, thinking of a survivor who had stared at the same trees while feigning death in one of the mass graves. "I knew that the roots of everything growing were in ashes," says Cohen, the 32-year-old author of the Jewish-gangster tome, "Tough Jews."

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