Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New Book - Road to Victory: Jewish Soldiers of the 16th Lithuanian Division

Posted by Gary Mokotoff 


Avotaynu has just published a new book: "Road to Victory: Jewish Soldiers of the 16th Lithuanian Division."

One aspect of the Holocaust about which there are too few books written is the participation of Jews in Eastern Europe as partisans or members of regular armies that fought the Germans. Such a book is "Road to Victory: Jewish Soldiers of the 16th Lithuanian Division." 
The book contains first-person accounts of the participation of Lithuanian Jews who fought in the 16th Lithuanian Division of the Red Army. Through their accounts they represent the large corps of 4,500 Jewish fighters-men and women alike-who took arms in the battlefields of World War II in order to destroy the enemy as well as to liberate the remnants of Lithuanian Jewry-the survivors of the Shoah.

A good number of stories are written by or about women who fought in the war. Professor Dov Levin, who was a partisan and is possibly the world authority on the history of the Jews of Lithuania, wrote the first article in the book.

In addition to the personal accounts, there is a yizkor (memorial) section listing 1,215 soldiers who died, giving name, father's given name, year of birth, rank, date and place of death. There is an index of persons mentioned in the other sections of the book. All told some 2,500 people are identified.

The book was originally compiled in Yiddish and then translated into Hebrew. Dorothy Leivers, author of The Jews of Kopcheve (Lithuania), which is also published by Avotaynu, has organized and edited this English language translation. The cover is a replica of the Hebrew version of the book with text adapted in English. The quality of the illustrations is not the best.

The original photographs and artwork were destroyed in a fire after publication of the Hebrew edition. Consequently, the only way to include the illustrations was to scan the Hebrew edition. This is a readable history, rich in details both for historians and genealogists.

Additional information is available by clicking here. At that site are two sample articles from the book.

Gary Mokotoff

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