OVERRIDE

Until Our Last Breath

A Holocaust Story of Love and Partisan Resistance

Michael Bart and Laurel Corona

St. Martin's Press

At Leizer Bart’s funeral, one of the mourners told his son Michael that the gravestone should include a reference to the Freedom Fighters of Nekamah, to honor his late father’s involvement in the Jewish resistance movement in Vilna (now Vilnius), Lithuania, at the end of World War II. Michael had never heard his parents referenced as Freedom Fighters.

Following his father’s death, and with his mother in failing health, Michael embarked on a ten-year research project to find out more details about his parents’ time in the Vilna ghetto, where they met, fell in love, and married, and about their activities as members of the Jewish resistance. Until Our Last Breath is the culmination of his research, and his parents’ story of love and survival is seamlessly tied into the collective story of the Vilna ghetto, the partisans of Vilna, and the wider themes of world history.

Zenia, Bart’s mother, was born and raised in Vilna. Leizer fled there to escape the Nazi invasion of his hometown of Hrubieshov in Poland. They were married by one of the last remaining rabbis ninety days before the liquidation of the ghetto. Leizer was friends with Zionist leader Abba Kovner and became a member of the Vilna ghetto underground. Shortly before the total liquidation of the ghetto, Zenia and Leizer, along with about 120 members of the underground, were able to escape to the Rudnicki forest, about 25 miles away. They became part of the Jewish partisan fighting group led by Abba Kovner—known as the Avengers—which carried out sabotage missions against the Nazi army and eventually participated in the liberation of Vilna.

Until Our Last Breath is intensely personal and painstakingly researched, a lasting memorial to the Jews of Vilna, including the resistance fighters and the author’s family.


BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

  Until Our Last Breath
OneBEFORE AND AFTERHe stands, cradling his wife in his arms. Her left shoulder is pressed upward toward her chin as she leans back, letting him hold her upright for the photograph. She wants to be strong and tough in this moment, but her head is tilted to one side, as if the thoughts crowding in behind her eyes are too heavy to bear. Her face looks taut with pain. In her right hand she holds a rifle.Towering behind her, his body and face are all angles. His jaw is clenched. The shadows under his narrowed eyes make smoky triangles in the bright sunlight. His shoulders,
READ THE FULL EXCERPT
BACK

REVIEWS

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Michael Bart and Laurel Corona

  • Michael Bart, the author, is the son of Holocaust survivors. He has collected personal information and documentation shared by his parents and spent more than ten years researching their experiences in World War II Lithuania. Please visit his Web site at www.untilourlastbreath.com.

    Laurel Corona, the writer of this book, is a tenured professor of English and Humanities at San Diego City College and the author of the forthcoming novel The Four Seasons. She lives in San Diego, California. Please visit her Web site at www.laurelcorona.com

  • Michael Bart
  • Laurel Corona ©Olga Gunn
    Laurel Corona
BACK

COMMUNITY

TheHistoryReader.com

    MORE BLOG POSTS
    BACK

    BUY THE BOOK

    Available Formats and Book Details

    Until Our Last Breath

    A Holocaust Story of Love and Partisan Resistance

    Michael Bart and Laurel Corona

    Christopher Awards - Winner
    • e-Book

    BACK

    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    St. Martin's Press

    BACK