by Barbara Gingold

Baltic Women Talk About Being Jewish

If you can do Rome in a day, it’s not unthinkable to do the Jewish history of Vilna in 24 hours. This is the Old Town where the venerated Gaon taught in the 18th century; these are the streets the Jews were forced into in the 20th. Those sweet gargoyles on a smooth coral façade? The remains of a vibrant Jewish theatre. That kindergarten? The location of a renowned Jewish library. At this corner, the Nazis installed a gate to lock in the ghetto’s residents, and this is the spot from which Jews began their march to death in the fields outside Vilna, in open pits at Ponar, on barges in the Baltic Sea.

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