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The Last Bright Days: A Young Woman's Life in a Lithuanian Shtetl on the Eve of the Holocaust

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The Last Bright Days is both a moving portrait of Jewish life during the 1930s in the small Lithuanian shtetl of Kavarsk and the personal story of one of its inhabitants, Beile Delechky. In 1938, as Europe was about to plunge into the darkness of war and genocide, Beile emigrated to the United States, leaving her family behind but bringing with her hundreds of photographs The Last Bright Days is both a moving portrait of Jewish life during the 1930s in the small Lithuanian shtetl of Kavarsk and the personal story of one of its inhabitants, Beile Delechky. In 1938, as Europe was about to plunge into the darkness of war and genocide, Beile emigrated to the United States, leaving her family behind but bringing with her hundreds of photographs and dozens of her notebooks. Over one hundred of these compelling photographs, reproduced in The Last Bright Days, give us a fascinating look back in time to a Jewish world that existed within Eastern Europe and was destroyed forever in the Holocaust. Beile's journal entries and poetry give us a window into the emotional life of a young woman coming of age in a small town as the problems of the wider world close in around her. Beile left Lithuania for America excited to be going to a new home and determined to find happiness. But her hopes for happiness would always be tempered by the memories of the family in Lithuania she so tragically lost. Beile never returned to Kavarsk. Her photographs and journals helped preserve her memories of growing up in the Jewish world of Lithuania in the days before that culture was lost forever. They give the rest of us a poignant glimpse of those last bright days.


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The Last Bright Days is both a moving portrait of Jewish life during the 1930s in the small Lithuanian shtetl of Kavarsk and the personal story of one of its inhabitants, Beile Delechky. In 1938, as Europe was about to plunge into the darkness of war and genocide, Beile emigrated to the United States, leaving her family behind but bringing with her hundreds of photographs The Last Bright Days is both a moving portrait of Jewish life during the 1930s in the small Lithuanian shtetl of Kavarsk and the personal story of one of its inhabitants, Beile Delechky. In 1938, as Europe was about to plunge into the darkness of war and genocide, Beile emigrated to the United States, leaving her family behind but bringing with her hundreds of photographs and dozens of her notebooks. Over one hundred of these compelling photographs, reproduced in The Last Bright Days, give us a fascinating look back in time to a Jewish world that existed within Eastern Europe and was destroyed forever in the Holocaust. Beile's journal entries and poetry give us a window into the emotional life of a young woman coming of age in a small town as the problems of the wider world close in around her. Beile left Lithuania for America excited to be going to a new home and determined to find happiness. But her hopes for happiness would always be tempered by the memories of the family in Lithuania she so tragically lost. Beile never returned to Kavarsk. Her photographs and journals helped preserve her memories of growing up in the Jewish world of Lithuania in the days before that culture was lost forever. They give the rest of us a poignant glimpse of those last bright days.

26 review for The Last Bright Days: A Young Woman's Life in a Lithuanian Shtetl on the Eve of the Holocaust

  1. 4 out of 5

    Meaghan

    These photographs are beautiful, and I would think them so even if I didn't know that they were images of a society, a way of life, about to be destroyed forever. The Jews of Karvarsk, Lithuania were mass-murdered by Nazis on September 5, 1941. Of Beile Delechky's immediate family, the only survivors were two sisters, one of whom had emigrated to Argentina before the war. Beile would probably not have survived, and her photos and journals certainly not, had she not left for America a year before These photographs are beautiful, and I would think them so even if I didn't know that they were images of a society, a way of life, about to be destroyed forever. The Jews of Karvarsk, Lithuania were mass-murdered by Nazis on September 5, 1941. Of Beile Delechky's immediate family, the only survivors were two sisters, one of whom had emigrated to Argentina before the war. Beile would probably not have survived, and her photos and journals certainly not, had she not left for America a year before the war began. In fact, she was passing through Germany en route on November 9 - 10, 1938 -- the night of Kristallnacht. The accompanying pieces of Beile's writing added even more poignancy, especially these lines from her poem "Black Eyes": That in any event everything is lost The lustfulness of those years It will never again come back She had no idea how true that poem would turn out to be. Books like these bring the Jewish victims of the Holocaust down off their sanctified pillars to earth, so you can see they were just ordinary people leading ordinary lives; these photos could have been taken anywhere.

  2. 5 out of 5

    ☆Chrissy☆

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Payne Jones

  5. 4 out of 5

    Esther

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kara

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

  8. 4 out of 5

    Annm

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Killian

  10. 5 out of 5

    Richard Rubin

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

  12. 4 out of 5

    [Name Redacted]

  13. 5 out of 5

    Evelina

  14. 4 out of 5

    Baskintm

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lamees Alsultan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Seidu-dickson Issaka

  17. 5 out of 5

    Linley

  18. 4 out of 5

    Martin Kowen

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ross Killion

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aš Laurynas

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Evers

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cathy-Anne

  23. 5 out of 5

    Francesca Williams

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chandel

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jinx:The:Poet {the Literary Masochist, Ink Ninja & Word Roamer}

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