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

Michael Bart and Lau­rel Corona
  • Review
By – January 26, 2012

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.
Mar­cia W. Pos­ner, Ph.D., of the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty, is the library and pro­gram direc­tor. An author and play­wright her­self, she loves review­ing for JBW and read­ing all the oth­er reviews and arti­cles in this mar­velous periodical.

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