The Boniuk Library

Holocaust Museum Houston

The book smugglers

D804.3
.F585
2017

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The book smugglers : partisans, poets, and the race to save Jewish treasures from the Nazis

Fishman, David E., 1957-, author.

Lebanon, NH : ForeEdge, an imprint of University Press of New England, [2017]

xv, 322 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm.

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The Book Smugglers is the nearly unbelievable story of ghetto residents who rescued thousands of rare books and manuscripts--first from the Nazis and then from the Soviets--by hiding them on their bodies, burying them in bunkers, and smuggling them across borders. It is a tale of heroism and resistance, of friendship and romance, and of unwavering devotion--including the readiness to risk one's life--to literature and art. And it is entirely true. Based on Jewish, German, and Soviet documents, including diaries, letters, memoirs, and the author's interviews with several of the story's participants, The Book Smugglers chronicles the daring activities of a group of poets turned partisans and scholars turned smugglers in Vilna, "The Jerusalem of Lithuania." The rescuers were pitted against Johannes Pohl, a Nazi "expert" on the Jews, who had been dispatched to Vilna by the Nazi looting agency, Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, to organize the seizure of the city's great collections of Jewish books. Pohl and his Einsatzstab staff planned to ship the most valuable materials to Germany and incinerate the rest. The Germans used forty ghetto inmates as slave-laborers to sort, select, pack, and transport the materials, either to Germany or to nearby paper mills. This group, nicknamed "the Paper Brigade," and informally led by poet Shmerke Kaczerginski, a garrulous, street-smart adventurer and master of deception, smuggled thousands of books and manuscripts past German guards. If caught, the men would have faced death by firing squad at Ponar, the mass-murder site outside of Vilna. To store the rescued manuscripts, poet Abraham Sutzkever helped build an underground book-bunker sixty feet beneath the Vilna ghetto. Kaczerginski smuggled weapons as well, using the group's worksite, the former building of the Yiddish Scientific Institute, to purchase arms for the ghetto's secret partisan organization. All the while, both men wrote poetry that was recited and sung by the fast-dwindling population of ghetto inhabitants. With the Soviet "liberation" of Vilna (now known as Vilnius), the Paper Brigade thought themselves and their precious cultural treasures saved--only to learn that their new masters were no more welcoming toward Jewish culture than the old, and the books must now be smuggled out of the USSR. Thoroughly researched by the foremost scholar of the Vilna Ghetto--a writer of exceptional daring, style, and reach--The Book Smugglers is an epic story of human heroism, a little-known tale from the blackest days of the war.

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All copies at Holocaust Museum Houston are out and at least one is overdue

ISBN:

9781512600490 (cloth)

Author:

Fishman, David E., 1957-, author.

Title:

The book smugglers : partisans, poets, and the race to save Jewish treasures from the Nazis / David E. Fishman.

Publisher:

Lebanon, NH : ForeEdge, an imprint of University Press of New England, [2017]

Physical:

xv, 322 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm.

ContentType:

text txt rdacontent

MediaType:

unmediated n rdamedia

CarrierType:

volume nc rdacarrier

BibliogrphyNote:

Includes bibliographical references (pages 299-309) and index.

Subject:

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Europe.

Subject:

Cultural property--Protection--Europe.

Subject:

Cultural property Europe.--Destruction and pillage

Subject:

Jewish libraries--Destruction and pillage--Europe.

Subject:

Art thefts--Europe.

Call:

D804.3 .F585 2017

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020 ISBN   $a ISBN  9781512600490 (cloth)
035 System Ctrl No   $a System control number  19664663
040 Cataloging Src   $a Original cataloging agency  DLC
    $b Language of cataloging  eng
    $c Transcribing agency  DLC
    $e Description conventions  rda
    $d Modifying agency  DLC
042 Authentication   $a Authentication code  pcc
043 GAC   $a Geographic area code  e------
050 LC Call No 00  $a Classification number  D804.3
    $b Item number  .F585 2017
082 Dewey Class No 00  $a Classification number  940.53/18132
    $2 Edition number  23
100 ME:PersonalName 1   $a Personal name  Fishman, David E.,
    $d Dates associated with a name  1957-,
    $e Relator term  author.
245 Title 14  $a Title  The book smugglers :
    $b Remainder of title  partisans, poets, and the race to save Jewish treasures from the Nazis /
    $c Statement of responsibility  David E. Fishman.
264 ProductnNotice $a Place of prod/dist/manuf.  Lebanon, NH :
    $b Name of prod./pub./dist./man.  ForeEdge, an imprint of University Press of New England,
    $c Date of prod/dist/manuf/copyrt  [2017]
300 Physical Desc   $a Extent  xv, 322 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates :
    $b Other physical details  illustrations, maps ;
    $c Dimensions  25 cm.
336 ContentType   $a Content type term  text
    $b Content type code  txt
    $2 Source  rdacontent
337 MediaType   $a Media type term  unmediated
    $b Media type code  n
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338 CarrierType   $a Carrier type term  volume
    $b Carrier type code  nc
    $2 Source  rdacarrier
504 BibliogrphyNote   $a Bibliography, etc. note  Includes bibliographical references (pages 299-309) and index.
650 Subj:Topic $a Topical term  Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
    $z Geographic subdivision  Europe.
650 Subj:Topic $a Topical term  Cultural property
    $x General subdivision  Protection
    $z Geographic subdivision  Europe.
650 Subj:Topic $a Topical term  Cultural property
    $e Relator term  Europe.
    $x General subdivision  Destruction and pillage
650 Subj:Topic $a Topical term  Jewish libraries
    $x General subdivision  Destruction and pillage
    $z Geographic subdivision  Europe.
650 Subj:Topic $a Topical term  Art thefts
    $z Geographic subdivision  Europe.
776 08  $i   Online version:
    $a   Fishman, David E., 1957- author.
    $t   Book smugglers
    $d   Lebanon, NH : ForeEdge, an imprint of University Press of New England, [2017]
    $z   9781512601268
    $w   (DLC) 2017025877.
852 Holdings   $a Location  HMH
    $h Classification part  D804.3 .F585 2017
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    $9 Cost  $0.00
852 Holdings   $a Location  HMH
    $h Classification part  D804.3 .F585 2017 c.2
    $p Barcode  13221
    $9 Cost  $0.00

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