Literary roundup: Index on Censorship and the Holocaust in Lithuania

In celebration of its 40th anniversary Index on Censorship is opening up its entire archives for 40 days from March 26 to, if I did the math correctly (no sure thing) means until May 5. After that all issues published before 2010 will remain available through the end of this year.

Based on a quick glance at some of the titles it looks like something I could spend the rest of 2012 reading. A recommended top 10 list includes selections from Mikhail Bulgakov’s diaries … (interruption as I read through the diary) … a Beckett play dedicated to Václav Havel called Catastrophe along with the sketch Havel wrote in response to it titled Mistake. I would list more of what’s on offer but then I would never get anything done . . . ever.

Lithuanian memories

By way of Canadian writer of Lithuanian descent Antanas Sileika (Antanas Šileika) two recent books about the Holocaust in Lithuania from The University of Nebraska Press. Epistolophilia is a biography of Ona Simaite written by Julija Sukys (Julija Šukys). Simaite was “a Vilnius librarian who gained access to the Jewish ghetto while claiming she was going in to retrieve overdue books,” who brought supplies to the ghetto’s inhabitants and even smuggled a girl out in a book bag. She was eventually caught and tortured by the Germans but survived the war and ended living in France for the rest of her life.

The other book is We Are Here, Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust, written by Ellen Cassedy. From Sileika’s description of the book it sounds like a thorough and fascinating examination of a still contentious subject in Lithuania.

Photo – Mikhail Bulgakov, some of whose diary entries were published by Index on Censorship in 1991.

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