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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 Lithuanian shtetl of Kavarsk and the personal story of one of its inhabitants, Beile Delechky. 

In 1938, with Europe on the brink of war and genocide, Beile emigrated to the United States, bringing with her hundreds of photographs and dozens of notebooks. With over one hundred compelling photographs, with Beile’s poetry and journal entries, the Last Bright Days gives us a fascinating look back to a Jewish world that was destroyed forever in the Holocaust. 

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 06, 2012 – In the 1930s, Beile Delechky was a young woman growing up in the Jewish shtetl of Kavarsk, Lithuania, where she and her brother Moishe were the unofficial town photographers. Just three years before the city's Jewish inhabitants were destroyed by the Nazis in 1941, Delechky left Kavarsk for America, bringing with her hundreds of photographs. Compiled by Buonagurio, and supplemented with his own commentary as well as passages of Delechky's journals and poetry (both photocopied and translated), these photographs show a vibrant Kavarsk, "a typical Lithuanian market town and...microcosm of Jewish life" as it was between the two World Wars. Given that most of her friends and family would die at the hands of the Nazis, the excerpts of her writings are often portentously chilling: "There is hope that the snow will come to an end," she writes, "There is hope that once again we will behold the green grasses on which we can lie down and rest." Many photographs depict Delechky's friends and family engaged in quotidian activities, like swimming in the Sventa River, posing in the snow, putting on plays, and harvesting apples. The final pages tell the story of Delechky's journey to America, including her passage through Nazi Germany on Kristallnacht. She eventually settled in San Francisco, but never returned to Lithuania. This collection is a beautiful preservation of Jewish life. Photos and maps.
The Last Bright Days
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPad, iPhone and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Jun 22, 2012
  • Publisher: Jewish Heritage and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
  • Seller: Francis T Buonagurio
  • Print Length: 175 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iPad with iBooks 2 or later and iOS 5 or later, or an iPhone with iOS 8.4 or later, or a Mac with OS X 10.9 or later.

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