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Kaddish for Kovno: Life and Death in a Lithuanian Ghetto 1941-1945

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In Kaddish for Kovno (the Kaddish is a prayer for the dead) William W Mishell documents in passionate detail the creation and then the obliteration of ghetto Kovno in Lithuania during the Nazi occupation of World War II. It is a troy of ingenuity and heroism as well as of horror and destruction. It illuminates the indomitable human spirit as the Jews of Kovno secured food, In Kaddish for Kovno (the Kaddish is a prayer for the dead) William W Mishell documents in passionate detail the creation and then the obliteration of ghetto Kovno in Lithuania during the Nazi occupation of World War II. It is a troy of ingenuity and heroism as well as of horror and destruction. It illuminates the indomitable human spirit as the Jews of Kovno secured food, smuggled children to safety, set up hospitals, and even organised a ghetto orchestra in the face of numbing deprivations and brutality. A gripping account of four years no human could forget.


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In Kaddish for Kovno (the Kaddish is a prayer for the dead) William W Mishell documents in passionate detail the creation and then the obliteration of ghetto Kovno in Lithuania during the Nazi occupation of World War II. It is a troy of ingenuity and heroism as well as of horror and destruction. It illuminates the indomitable human spirit as the Jews of Kovno secured food, In Kaddish for Kovno (the Kaddish is a prayer for the dead) William W Mishell documents in passionate detail the creation and then the obliteration of ghetto Kovno in Lithuania during the Nazi occupation of World War II. It is a troy of ingenuity and heroism as well as of horror and destruction. It illuminates the indomitable human spirit as the Jews of Kovno secured food, smuggled children to safety, set up hospitals, and even organised a ghetto orchestra in the face of numbing deprivations and brutality. A gripping account of four years no human could forget.

34 review for Kaddish for Kovno: Life and Death in a Lithuanian Ghetto 1941-1945

  1. 5 out of 5

    Meaghan

    I talk about an incident from this book on my August 18, 2013 Executed Today entry. On August 18, 1941, 534 Lithuanian-Jewish intellectuals were rounded up and shot by the Nazis. William Mishell nearly became victim number 535. I talk about an incident from this book on my August 18, 2013 Executed Today entry. On August 18, 1941, 534 Lithuanian-Jewish intellectuals were rounded up and shot by the Nazis. William Mishell nearly became victim number 535.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Amazingly detailed, well documented account. Not maudlin, he's very scientific and honest about his account, but that makes it even more horrific and heartbreaking. Amazingly detailed, well documented account. Not maudlin, he's very scientific and honest about his account, but that makes it even more horrific and heartbreaking.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Edward Janes

    Book review for "Kaddish for Kovno" (1988, 398 pages) by William W. Mishell. (My maternal grandfather's family was from Kovno, Lithuania). Mishell was a very young man when the Nazi war machine rolled into Kovno in the summer of 1941. His story recounts and gives testimony to many atrocities in the Kovno Ghetto, Stutthof and Dachau while also providing insight into the minds of young adults "coming of age" under conditions unique to the human experience. He openly discusses the heartbreak of falli Book review for "Kaddish for Kovno" (1988, 398 pages) by William W. Mishell. (My maternal grandfather's family was from Kovno, Lithuania). Mishell was a very young man when the Nazi war machine rolled into Kovno in the summer of 1941. His story recounts and gives testimony to many atrocities in the Kovno Ghetto, Stutthof and Dachau while also providing insight into the minds of young adults "coming of age" under conditions unique to the human experience. He openly discusses the heartbreak of falling in love in the Ghetto as his girl friend(s) become victims of their evil overlord. Later, while imprisoned in near hopeless conditions at Dachau, he tells of the startling kindness of one of his German captors as the fight for life balanced on a fulcrum of liberation and annihilation. After being freed by the American Army W.M. describes endless heartbreak as the "Musselman" victims continued to perish and as confirmation of those lost became fully understood. This riveting book is detailed, extremely well written and reads with the suspense of a white knuckle thriller. Highly recommended for those interested in understanding the experiences and fate of Lithuanian Jewry.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter Pactor

    In my opinion, this is a book that everyone should read. It is an autobiographical story about the author's life in the Kovno Ghetto in Lithuania and several scattered concentration camps from 1941 to 1945 and about his battle for survival until being rescued by the Americans at Dachau. Often the author depicts specific events with so much emotion—feelings that he experienced while interned— that the reader often feels he is there with him during this experience. To me it was amazing that he stil In my opinion, this is a book that everyone should read. It is an autobiographical story about the author's life in the Kovno Ghetto in Lithuania and several scattered concentration camps from 1941 to 1945 and about his battle for survival until being rescued by the Americans at Dachau. Often the author depicts specific events with so much emotion—feelings that he experienced while interned— that the reader often feels he is there with him during this experience. To me it was amazing that he still retained such vivid memories of people, places, horrors, love-yes, there is a romance in the Ghetto-fears and courage. There are times in the reading that I thought he had to struggle with relating his memories, and I felt the stress the author experienced, added to the depth of feeling with which he wrote. I have read much Holocaust literature, and I would rank this author up with Eli Wiesel and Simon Wiesenthal in the quality of writing and the power of his tale. This is definitely a book to read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Blanche_in_Lakeview

    This is a memoir of a Jewish Lithuanian Holocaust survivor from the Kaunas (Kovno)ghetto. It is a must read on many levels -- for Jews, for Lithuanians, and for those interested in history so that the past may never have to repeat itself. Parts of the book are heart-breakingly difficult to read, so much so that I had to put the book down at times and continue reading another day. For example, the description of the "children's action" (kinder akstye) was particularly difficult for me to read. Yo This is a memoir of a Jewish Lithuanian Holocaust survivor from the Kaunas (Kovno)ghetto. It is a must read on many levels -- for Jews, for Lithuanians, and for those interested in history so that the past may never have to repeat itself. Parts of the book are heart-breakingly difficult to read, so much so that I had to put the book down at times and continue reading another day. For example, the description of the "children's action" (kinder akstye) was particularly difficult for me to read. You will find yourself alternately in tears and in a state of shock throughout this book. However, it is a necessary book, and it is important for us to know our past, no matter how grisly it is. This book should be read in conjunction with Solly Ganor's memoir "Light One Candle." Many of the events described are similar in these two books, but each sheds light on the Holocaust of the Lithuanian Jews in a different way.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Zach Hagadone

  7. 5 out of 5

    C!NDY L00

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rick

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sorelle Gross

  10. 4 out of 5

    Zev Mishell

  11. 5 out of 5

    LeeAnne

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  13. 5 out of 5

    Noa Mishell

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy Mishell

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

  16. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sid & Arlene Shachnow

  18. 4 out of 5

    Judy

  19. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jarrell Fisher

  22. 4 out of 5

    Briana

  23. 4 out of 5

    Deeon

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rose Cohen

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sheldon

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rfg

  27. 4 out of 5

    Reuvenc

  28. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  29. 4 out of 5

    Yulanda Stockton

  30. 4 out of 5

    Šarūnė Sederevičiūtė

  31. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  32. 5 out of 5

    Noor

  33. 4 out of 5

    Zeni

  34. 4 out of 5

    Rachel goodreads

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