B O O K S
by Olga Zabludoff
Review of We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust by Ellen Cassedy. University of Nebraska Press, 2012.
Had this title been billed as a simple memoir of Cassedy’s trip to Lithuania in the summer of 2004, my criticism of her book would be tempered. She had gone to the land of her ancestors to study Yiddish at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute and to connect with her Jewish roots. The professors and mentors she encounters at the Yiddish Institute come alive, as do the various Lithuanians and Jews with whom she connects. Cassedy is a good writer who captures physical details well. But even at that, this reviewer found the memoir to be superficial.
The major problem is that Cassedy’s book is being promoted as the Bible of the Lithuanian Holocaust by advocates for the current Lithuanian government and elite establishment which aspire to paint for the outside world a distorted version of the Holocaust. A version defined in shades of gray and the confusion they generate. A version that incorporates the mythology of equivalency between crimes committed by the Nazi and Soviet occupation regimes.
SEE ALSO THE REVIEWS BY
Dovid Katz in the Algemeiner Journal
Allan Nadler in the Forward