One of the last surviving partisans of Vilna, Rachel Margolis has written a vivid and compelling account of the murder of Lithuania7s Jews, and of the battle for survival and dignity amongst those who escaped. It is also a testament to those who in the midst of degradation and destruction continued to embrace the best ideals of humanity even as they determined to resist and fight back against the Nazis and their local collaborators. And, at the same time it is an intimnte portrait of a creative and vibrant community, the Jews of Vilna, as well as a deeply personal account of growth and maturity in the midst of that turbulent and tragic period
This book serves as a stark reminder to those who would deny or trivialize the reality of the Holocaust in Lithuania and reminds us once again of the human comession of that genociee The questions that it raises about resistance and complicity, collaboration and betrayal antisemitism and xenophobia, are questions that resonate even today. It is only by facing the past and that we can hope to build a better future Rachel Marealis, through this memoir, as well as her other activities in Vilna, has helped set us on path. We are all in her debt for doing so, and can only hope for the widest possible impact of this evocative, authentic and powerful memoir.
"Arguably the most extraordinary Holocaust survivor of our time, Rachel Margolis left a safe hiding place to join her (doomed) family in the Vilna Ghetto, then left the ghetto to join the anti-Nazi partisans in the forests. After the collapse of the USSR, she helped build a small Holocaust museum, then rediscovered, transcribed and published the lost diary of a Christian Pole who witnessed tens of thousands of murders of Jews by enthusiastic Lithuanian nationalists. In her mid eighties, she published the Russian original of this memoir. The local anti-Semitic press focused on one paragraph, took it out of context, and then - in May 2008, armed police came looking for Rachel and a fellow woman partisan survivor. Currently living in Israel and prevented from returning to her native Vilna (now Vilnius, Lithuania) by the prosecutors' campaign, she is a survivor who can't return home. This book is the reason why. In publishing it in English, Academic Studies Press does a great service to both the dwindling community of Holocaust survivors, and the growing community of readers who just want to know."--Dovid Katz, Professor of Judaic Studies, Vilnius University; Director of Research, Vilnius Yiddish Institute "www.HolocaustInTheBaltics.com "