When they were not yet twenty years old three young Jews left their families in Western Poland and came to the Lithuanian ghetto of Vilna. Abba Covina became leader of the young people in the ghetto and Rushka Marle and Vitka Kempner were his deputies. Together they organised the first underground movement in Europe, mapping the sewers and using the tunnels beneath the city to smuggle food and weapons in and out of the ghetto.
In 1943 they escaped the ghetto and led their band of resistance fighters deep into the forests of Poland, where they lived for the remainder of the war. From here, they bombed the occupied city they loved. When the war was over Abba, Vitka and Rushka went to Israel, but they did not forget what they had learned in Vilna and in the forest.
Rich Cohen's father was Rushka's cousin. In 'The Avengers', Cohen tells their story brilliantly, with the momentum of a suspense novel and the moral force of a biblical text.