The Shadow of Death: The Holocaust in Lithuania

Harry Gordon, Author University Press of Kentucky $22 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8131-1767-6
When Russia annexed Lithuania in 1940, Jews, if not Christian Lithuanians, greeted the Red Army with flowers, recalls Gordon. But the following year, when Germany declared war against Russia, the then-16-year-old author's security as member of a large, close-knit family of affluent Kovno Jews would be shattered. In a Holocaust memoir made unique by its rare depiction of Nazi-occupied Lithuania and by its condemnation of the local Jewish council, Gordon bears witness to the brutality of Lithuanians and conqueror alike as he reconstructs his corner of hell from the German invasion to his 1944 rescue as a Dachau escapee, his two-year hospitalization and emigration to the U.S. in 1949. Although crudely written--``To Lithuanians Jewish blood tasted better than the best wine''; the Jewish police lived ``like parasites on someone else's blood''--the book makes a tremendous impact as we read of starvation, grueling work parties, betrayals, executions, Auschwitz and Dachau, the deaths of virtually all members of Gordon's family. After arriving in the U.S. with his Polish wife (met in a displaced persons' camp), the author's life, unfortunately, did not markedly right itself: he quickly divorced, then, with little else available to him, became a ``Yiddish peddler'' in Wisconsin. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Paperback - 264 pages - 978-0-8131-9008-2
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