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Crossing the River
Shalom Eilati
University of Alabama Press, 2009
Crossing the River is a personal memoir—and more. Against the backdrop of Lithuania’s occupation—first by the Red Army, next by the Germans, and then again by the Russians—it is a story reflected through the prism of a sharp-eyed young child, Shalom Eilati. His story starts in the occupied Kovno Ghetto and ends with his flight across the Soviet border, through Poland and Germany and finally, his arrival in Palestine.
The adult survivor, while recalling the terrorized child that he was and how he then perceived the adult world, also takes stock of his present life. Throughout the memoir, Eilati attempts to reconcile his present life as a husband, father, scientist, and writer, with the images, feelings, and thoughts from the past that have left an indelible mark on his life and that continue to haunt him.

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Anti-Nuclear Activism and National Identity in Russia, Lithuania, and Ukraine
Jane I. Dawson
Duke University Press, 1996
Eco-nationalism examines the spectacular rise of the anti-nuclear power movement in the former Soviet Union during the early perestroika period, its unexpected successes in the late 1980s, and its substantial decline after 1991. Jane I. Dawson argues that anti-nuclear activism, one of the most dynamic social forces to emerge during these years, was primarily a surrogate for an ever-present nationalism and a means of demanding greater local self-determination under the Soviet system. Rather than representing strongly held environmental and anti-nuclear convictions, this activism was a political effort that reflected widely held anti-Soviet sentiments and a resentment against Moscow’s domination of the region—an effort that largely disappeared with the dissolution of the USSR.
Dawson combines a theoretical framework based on models of social movements with extensive field research to compare the ways in which nationalism, regionalism, and other political demands were incorporated into anti-nuclear movements in Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Armenia, Tatarstan, and Crimea. These comparative case studies form the core of the book and trace differences among the various regional movements to the distinctive national identities of groups involved. Reflecting the new opportunities for research that have become available since the late 1980s, these studies draw upon Dawson’s extended on-site observation of local movements through 1995 and her unique access to movement activists and their personal archives.
Analyzing and documenting a development with sobering and potentially devastating implications for nuclear power safety in the former USSR and beyond, Eco-nationalism’s examination of social activism in late and postcommunist societies will interest readers concerned with the politics of global environmentalism and the process of democratization in the post-Soviet world.

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From that Place and Time
A Memoir, 1938-1947
Dawidowicz, Lucy
Rutgers University Press, 2008
From that Place and Time is the memoir of Lucy S. Dawidowicz, an American-Jewish historian who set out to study Yiddish language and Jewish history at YIVO, the Jewish Scientific Institute in Vilna, Poland, in 1938. Escaping Poland only days before the Nazi onslaught, she worked in the New York YIVO during the war, and returned to Europe from 1946 to 1947 to aid Jewish displaced persons in Munich and Belsen with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Dawidowicz's memoir not only describes her pre-war year in Jewish Eastern Europe, but also treats the ghostly post-war period, and her role in salvaging what remained of Vilna's scorched Jewish archives and libraries.

Nancy Sinkoff's new introduction explores the historical forces, particularly the dynamic world of secular Yiddish culture, which shaped Dawidowicz's decision to journey to Poland and her reassessment of those forces in the last years of her life.


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From the Old Marketplace
Joseph Buloff
Harvard University Press, 1991

A young Jewish boy—the old, much-fought-over city of Vilnius—the rumblings and then the reality of World War I—all combine in this book to create a striking historical document of a period during which Europe and the Western world were changed forever. In the streets and alleys of Vilnius actor Joseph Buloff came of age, learning the arts of shape-altering necessary for survival during successive occupations by Cossacks, Germans, Bolsheviks, and Poles; it is this fascinating vanished milieu that he brings to life in From the Old Marketplace.

For a little boy, the old marketplace was full of enchantment, a world in itself, and Buloff brilliantly describes the eccentric inhabitants who peopled his childhood: Berchick the orphan, Barve's son the intellectual and historian, the starveling Matzek, Arkashka the Cossack, Joseph's mother, the saintly yet practical Sarah, and his father, Benjamin, who made a fortune in America and lost it again in Europe.

The boy came to realize his own Jewishness when Russian persecution forced the Jews to make the synagogue the center of their world. He was driven by brutality, hunger, and ostracism to transform himself in spirit into the imaginary Chantille Jeantaigne Delacroix, scourge of evil, avenger of his people, Conqueror of Death. Joseph's accounts of daily life under unbelievably hard circumstances range from down-to-earth facts to soaring flights of fantasy—and his desperate acting in order to stay alive brought him his true vocation, first on the scrounging amateur stage and then in the professional theatre.


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Heshel's Kingdom
Dan Jacobson
Northwestern University Press, 1999
The Orthodox rabbi Heshel Melamed's sudden death by heart attack in 1919 set his widow and children free to leave Lithuania. In this deeply personal memoir, his grandson journeys to the nation after the fall of Communism, and his story is both a philosophical tableau of secularism, religion, and family and a communion with history's darkness-and, where possible, its illumination.

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In the Shadow of Hitler
Alabama's Jews, the Second World War, and the Holocaust
Dan J. Puckett
University of Alabama Press, 2014
In the Shadow of Hitler chronicles the experiences of Alabama Jews as they worked to overcome their own divisions in order to aid European Jews before, during, and after the Second World War.

In this extensive study of how southern Jews in the United States responded to the Nazi persecution of European Jews, Dan J. Puckett recounts the divisions between Alabama Jews in the early 1930s. As awareness of the horrors of the Holocaust spread, Jews across Alabama from different backgrounds and from Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox traditions worked to bridge their internal divisions in order to mount efforts to save Jewish lives in Europe. Only by leveraging their collective strength were Alabama’s Jews able to sway the opinions of newspaper editors, Christian groups, and the general public as well as lobby local, state, and national political leaders.

Puckett’s comprehensive analysis is enlivened and illustrated by true stories that will fascinate all readers of southern history. One such story concerns the Altneuschule Torah of Prague and describes how the Nazis, during their brutal occupation of Czechoslovakia, confiscated 1,564 Torahs and sacred Judaic objects from communities throughout Bohemia and Moravia as exhibits in a planned museum to the extinct Jewish race. Recovered after the war by the Czech Memorial Scrolls Trust, the Altneuschule Torah was acquired in 1982 by the Orthodox congregation Ahavas Chesed of Mobile. Ahavas Chesed re-consecrated the scroll as an Alabama memorial to Czech Jews who perished in Nazi death camps.

In the Shadow of Hitler illustrates how Alabama’s Jews, in seeking to influence the national and international well-being of Jews, were changed, emerging from the war period with close cultural and religious cooperation that continues today.

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Jerusalem of Lithuania
A Reader in Yiddish Cultural History
Jerold C. Frakes
The Ohio State University Press, 2011

Yerusholayim d’lite: di yidishe kultur in der lite (Jerusalem of Lithuania: A Reader in Yiddish Cultural History) by Jerold C. Frakes contains cultural, literary, and historical readings in Yiddish that vividly chronicle the central role Vilnius (Lithuania) played in Jewish culture throughout the past five centuries. It includes many examples of Yiddish literature, historiography, sociology, and linguistics written by and about Litvaks and includes work by prominent Yiddish poets, novelists, raconteurs, journalists, and scholars. In addition, Frakes has supplemented the primary texts with many short essays that contextualize Yiddish cultural figures, movements, and historical events.

Designed especially for intermediate and advanced readers of Yiddish (from the second-year of instruction), each text is individually glossed, including not only English definitions, but also basic grammatical information that will enable intermediate readers to progress to an advanced reading ability.
Because of its unique content, Yerusholayim d’lite will be of interest not only to university students of Yiddish language, literature, and culture, but it will be an invaluable resource for scholars and Yiddish reading groups and clubs worldwide, as well as for all general readers interested in Yiddish-language culture.

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Lithuanian Social Democracy in Perspective, 1893-1914
Leonas Sabaliunas
Duke University Press, 1990
Lithuanian Social Democracy in Perspective is the first book in any Western language on Lithuanian Social Democracy. In this work Leonas Sabaliunas studies the conflict between and convergence of socialism and nationalism in pre-1914 Lithuania. He analyzes the interplay of ideological priorities by observing the operations of Marxist political parties, emphasizing the origins, development, and achievements of the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania.
But Sabaliunas also considers such partners and rivals as the Jewish Bund, the Polish Socialist Party, the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, and the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. He focuses on the appearance of socialist parties at the local level, the politics of assertive behavior during the Russian Revolution of 1905–1906, the nature of interparty relations, and efforts to promote party unity. In particular, he investigates the projected relationship between Russia and its subject nationalities—a cardinal concern today as the Baltic peoples attempt to distance themselves from their Russian neighbors.
Sabaliunas clarifies current massive Lithuanian opposition to Moscow and to its version of socialism. He stresses that in Lithuania the socialist movement from the beginning not only sought solutions to social and economic problems but also addressed issues of ethnic and national interest, especially the question of national sovereignty.

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Lithuanians in Michigan
Marius K. Grazulis
Michigan State University Press, 2009

In Lithuanians in Michigan Marius Grazulis recounts the history of an immigrant group that has struggled to maintain its identity. Grazulis estimates that about 20 percent of the 1.6 million Lithuanians who immigrated to the United States arrived on American shores between 1860 and 1918.
     While first-wave immigrants stayed mostly on the east coast, by 1920 about one-third of newly immigrated Lithuanians lived in Michigan, working in heavy industry and mining.
     With remarkable detail, Grazulis traces the ways these groups have maintained their ethnic identity in Michigan in the face of changing demographics in their neighborhoods and changing interests among their children, along with the challenges posed by newly arriving "modern" Lithuanian immigrants, who did not read the same books, sing the same songs, celebrate the same holidays, or even speak the same language that previous waves of Lithuanian immigrants had preserved in America. Anyone interested in immigrant history will find Lithuanians in Michigan simultaneously familiar, fascinating, and moving.


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The Lost Library
The Legacy of Vilna's Strashun Library in the Aftermath of the Holocaust
Dan Rabinowitz
Brandeis University Press, 2018
The Strashun Library was among the most important Jewish public institutions in Vilna, and indeed in Eastern Europe, prior to its destruction during World War II. Mattityahu Strashun, descended from a long and distinguished line of rabbis, bequeathed his extensive personal library of 5,753 volumes to the Vilna Jewish community on his death in 1885, with instructions that it remain open to all. In the summer of 1941, the Nazis came to Vilna, plundered the library, and shipped many of its books to Germany for deposition at a future Institute for Research into the Jewish Question. When the war ended, the recovery effort began. Against all odds, a number of the greatest treasures of the library could be traced. However, owing to its diverse holdings and its many prewar patrons, a custody battle erupted over the remaining holdings. Who should be heir to the Strashun Library? This book tells the story of the Strashun Library from its creation through the contentious battle for ownership following the war until present day. Pursuant to a settlement in 1958, the remnants of the greatest prewar library in Europe were split between two major institutions: the secular YIVO in the United States and the rabbinic library of Hechal Shlomo in Israel, a compromise that struck at the heart of the library’s original unifying mission.

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Poetry and Nation-Building in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Three Early Modern Latin Epics
Francis Young
Arc Humanities Press, 2024

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So We Died
A Memoir of Life and Death in the Ghetto of Šiauliai, Lithuania
Levi Shalit, translated and edited by Veronica Belling, Ellen Cassedy, and Andrew Cassel, introduction by Veronica Belling, afterword by Justin Cammy
University of Alabama Press, 2025

A powerful eyewitness account of the Shavl ghetto in Nazi-occupied Lithuania


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Surviving the Holocaust
The Kovno Ghetto Diary
Avraham Tory
Harvard University Press, 1990

This remarkable chronicle of life and death in the Jewish Ghetto of Kovno, Lithuania, from June 1941 to January 1944, was written under conditions of extreme danger by a Ghetto inmate and secretary of the Jewish Council. After the war, in order to escape from Lithuania, the author was forced to entrust the diary to leaders of the Escape movement; eventually it made its way to his new home in Israel.

The diary incorporates Avraham Tory’s collections of official documents, Jewish Council reports, and original photographs and drawings made in the Ghetto. It depicts in grim detail the struggle for survival under Nazi domination, when—if not simply carted off and murdered in a random “action”—Jews were exploited as slave labor while being systematically starved and denied adequate housing and medical care. Through it all, Tory’s overriding purpose was to record the unimaginable events of these years and to memorialize the determination of the Jews to sustain their community life in the midst of the Nazi terror.

Of the surviving diaries originating in the principal European Ghettos of this period, Tory’s is the longest written by an adult, a dramatic and horrifying document that makes an invaluable contribution to contemporary history. Tory provides an insider’s view of the desperate efforts of Ghetto leaders to protect Jews. Martin Gilbert’s masterly introduction establishes the authenticity of the diary, presents its events against the backdrop of the war in Europe, and considers the crucial questions of collaboration and resistance.


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Unintended Affinities
Nineteenth-Century German and Polish Historians on the Holy Roman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Adam Kozuchowski
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019
Unintended Affinities examines the ways in which German and Polish historians of the nineteenth-century regarded the Holy Roman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The book parallels how historians approached the old Reich and the Commonwealth within the framework of their national history. Kożuchowski analyzes how German and Polish nationalistic historians, who played central roles in propagandizing a glorious past that justified a centralized modern state, struggled with how to portray the very decentralized and multi-ethnic empires that preceded their time.

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