The Lithuanian Jews, Litvaks, played an important and unique role not only within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but in a wider context of Jewish life and culture in Eastern Europe, too. The changing world around them at the end of the nineteenth century and during the first decades of the twentieth had a profound impact not only on the Jewish communities, but also on a parallel world of the “others,” that is, those who lived with them side by side. Exploring and demonstrating this development from various angles is one of the themes and objectives of this book. Another is the analysis of the Shoah, which ended the centuries of Jewish culture in Lithuania: a world of its own had vanished within months. This book, therefore, “recalls” that vanished world. In doing so, it sheds new light on what has been lost.The papers presented in this collection were delivered at the international conferences in Nida (1997) and Telšiai (2001), Lithuania. Participants came from Israel, the USA, Great Britain, Poland, Russia, Belarus, Germany, and Lithuania.
About the author
Alvydas Nikzentaitis is Director of the Lithuanian Institute of History in Vilnius, Lithuania. He is the founder and the former director of the Centre for West Lithuanian and Prussian History at the University of Klaipeda, Lithuania. Areas of interest: the history of mediaeval Lithuania, Lithuania in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and stereotypes in historiography. He published several books in Lithuanian on the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the Middle Ages, and is the author of the book, Witold i Jagiello. Polacy i Litwini we wzajemnym stereotypie [Vytautas and Jagiello. Poles and Lithuanians in Mutual Stereotyping] (Poznan, 2000). Stefan Schreiner is Chair for History of Religion and Jewish Studies, and Head of the Institutum Judaicum at Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen, Germany. He is mainly engaged in the study of Polish-Jewish cultural history and the history and culture of the Karaites in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Darius Staliūnas earned his doctorate from Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 1997. Currently, he serves as Deputy Director of the Lithuanian Institute of History in Vilnius, Lithuania. The author of Visuomene be universiteto? (Aukstosios mokyklos atkūrimo problema Lietuvoje: XIX a. vidurys-XX a. pradzia) [Society without a University? (On the Reestablishment of a Higher-Education Institution in Lithuania between the Mid-Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries)] (Vilnius: Lithuanian History Institute Press, 2000).
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