Until Our Last Breath: A Holocaust Story of Love and Partisan Resistance

St. Martin’s Press  2008

 

After learning at his father’s funeral that his father had been in the Freedom Fighters, a Jewish resistance movement in Vilna, Lithuania, the author spent the next ten years researching both the historical and personal stories of this time and place, particularly his parents’ roles in the Resistance. His parents, Leizer and Zenia, had been married in the Ghetto by one of the last rabbis left alive. Instead of waiting in the Vilna Ghetto to be shipped to Auschwitz, the author’s parents had escaped to the Rudnicki forest, about twenty-five miles from the ghetto, and became active members of Abba Kovner’s Jewish partisan group, “the Avengers.” Theirs was a love story that flourished despite the privations of the Ghetto and the partners’ disparate ages and social status.

Within the larger tale are other dramatic and poignant stories. One deals with whether a Jew’s blood is allowed to be spilled to save the life of other Jews, if the intended victim does not wish to martyr himself. This is not primarily a book of derring do but of decisions and choices that had to be made. It is an invaluable resource for this period and place that goes far beyond other books this reviewer has read on the topic. Photos.


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