Different facts about the past – that’s the history of Lithuania. There are some events about which we often have one-sided discussions, others we are silent about or look at superficially.
Some years ago, material appeared in the press about a group of prisoners, who had managed to escape from the Kaunas Ninth Fort during the Fascist occupation. And now a book in Yiddish by Alex (Alter) Faitelson, the organizer of this exploit, has appeared: The Time of Storms and Fights. Lithuanus Publishers have made the publication possible. The editor is Gregory Smoliakov, the artist – Yokubas Yatzovsky.
The book is fairly voluminous (420 pages). It includes a detailed account of Williampol, the Kaunas Jewish ghetto, of the escape by a group of prisoners, and how they went on to join the partisans.
The author referred to a wide range (altogether eighty-one viewpoints) of literary sources, not avoiding any criticism set out in them. It is very important to point this out, because many facts that have been known are now set out in a different, and it must be said, in a truer light. The author doesn’t like to wrap things up. He writes to affirm what happened in reality, since he was himself a participant in those events and to this day remains a living witness of those times and events.
To a large extent, the book gives life to the poems written in the ghetto by the poetess Sima Yashunski, many of which were to become songs. Faitelson, the author of the book, and Sima met during the struggle waged by the partisans, and then they married.
At present, the Faitelsons live in Israel. They were in Vilnius recently and took back with them a large number of copies of their book.
The book, The Time of Storms and Fights, is already being translated into English and Hebrew. Is there anyone prepared to translate this interesting, this genuinely encyclopedic historical material for Lithuanian readers? This would not only be an enlightening publication, but a book carrying an educational anti-Fascist message.
The newspaper Musu Rupesciai
Writer and publicist
(April1994.“What Concerns Us”)