Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Book Review: The Last Days of the Jerusalem of Lithuania

Kruk, Herman. The Last Days of the Jerusalem of Lithuania : Chronicles from the Vilna Ghetto and the Camps, 1939-1944. Ed. by Benjamin Harshav ; trans. by Barbara Harshav. New Haven, Conn.: Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, Yale University Press, 2002.

Herman Kruk, a librarian, lived in Vilna Ghetto in Lithuania during the early days of the Holocaust. He kept a diary of his time in the ghetto which extended to a concentration camp in Klooga, Estonia where he and other Jews were eventually exterminated. This is an important diary because it chronicle what everyday life was like for the Jews in Vilna Ghetto at the time. It is a fascinating read even though it is slightly over 700 pages. Rarely does one read a chronicle of events that touches the day to day existence of Jews suffering through the Holocaust at the level in which this work does. It is remarkable that this diary made it through the Holocaust to be read by us today.

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