The Litvaks, A Short History of the Jews in Lithuania, by Dov Levin, is intense, dramatic, and an amazing non-fiction book that belongs on every book shelf, especially the shelves of those who have Litvak ancestry.
This is a book, of not only history, but one of insight into the vibrancy and the demise of the Jews and of their geographical environment and culture, religion and fight for survival, within the ever-changing demographics of the country. From independence, to repressive rule, to Russian rule, to independence again, the book details the struggle of the Jewish people to maintain a place in history as a historical group of people, surviving with its religious tradition intact, surviving as a whole in the scheme of history.
The Litvaks is a poignant book, detailing the history of Lithuanian Jews, from the 1300s through the present, detailing the end of WWII, including the Holocaust, through the present, through witness and survivor histories. It is an extremely compelling and forceful read.
Levin manages to detail lifestyles, from banking to education, daily life and cultural practices, and how they apply to the governmental discrimination and restrictions imposed upon the Lithuanian Jews and, Jews in general.
Dov Levin undertook the research, dedication and the writing of this insightful and informative book. As a historian, he infused the pages of The Litvaks with minute details of Eastern European Jewry. The Litvaks, A Short History of the Jews in Lithuania has helped me learn about my ancestors regarding their Lithuania, where they resided, the hardships they endured (forced and otherwise), and the cultural background within their environment, life in their small Lithuanian Shtetl, and the Jews of yesterday.
I personally own and have read this book.
September 13, 2012 – 26 Elul, 5772