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Beth David Jewish Book Discussion Group
May 14 @ 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm
Saturday, May 14, 12:45 – 2:00 p.m. following kiddush lunch
The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis, by David Fishman
The Book Smugglers is a true story of forty ghetto inmates in Vilna (known as the Paper Brigade) who rescued thousands of rare books and manuscripts first from the Nazis and then from the Soviets. Planning to ship the most valuable materials to Germany and incinerate the rest, the Nazis forced the men to sort and transport the materials. Instead, the Paper Brigade smuggled thousands of books and manuscripts past German guards. Based on Jewish, German, and Soviet documents, The Book Smugglers chronicles the daring activities of these partisans and smugglers who risked their lives to literature and art by hiding the books on their bodies, burying them in bunkers, and smuggling them across borders. In July 1944, when the Soviets liberated Vilna, the men realized that their new masters were not interested in saving Jewish culture, and thus the books had to be smuggled out of the USSR. Susan Rojo-Firsty will lead the discussion.