Dovid Fishman: The Book Smugglers

May 3, 201861 minutes

  • Dr. David E. Fishman, author of The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis (ForeEdge, 2017). Fishman's book tells the incredible story of the "Paper Brigade" of the Vilna Ghetto, who rescued thousands of books, manuscripts, documents, and objects of art from the murderous Germans seeking to both loot and destroy the Jews' cultural heritage. After the war, an effort was needed to save the collection from neglect or possible destruction at the hands of the officialdom of Soviet Lithuania. The book acquaints the reader in depth with the deeds and fates of the five key heroes of the Paper Brigade -- Shmerke Kaczerginski, Zelig Kalmanovitch, Rachela Krinsky, Herman Kruk, and Abraham Sutzkever -- as well as those of the chief villain, the Nazi book looter Johannes Pohl. The Book Smugglers won the National Jewish Book Award in 2017 for a work on the Holocaust. Additional info is available at the publisher's web page, here:
  • The interview is conducted by Sholem Beinfeld, a regular contributor to the Yiddish Voice, co-Editor in Chief of the Comprehensive Yiddish-English Dictionary, and Professor of History, Emeritus, Washington University, St. Louis. Dr. Beinfeld served as principal consultant on the film Partisans of Vilna (credited as Solon Beinfeld). He was senior consultant and historian to the Kovno Ghetto Exhibition project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and consultant to the Museum on the Ghetto archive holdings in the Lithuanian State Archives in Vilnius.
  • Music:
  • The song Vilna is heard "thematically" at several points throughout the program and played nearly in full at the end. Words by Efraim-Leyb Wolfson, music by Alexander Olshanetsky, performed by the Klezmer Conservatory Band, musical direction and piano by Hankus Netsky, sung by Judy Bressler, from the Record Album Yiddishe Renaissance.
  • Intro instrumental music: DEM HELFANDS TANTS, an instrumental track from the CD Jeff Warschauer: The Singing Waltz

Air Date: May 2 2018

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