Where I Go: Lithuania’s Vanished Center of Jewish Life

In Vilna, Where Thousands Were Murdered, I Learned How Difficult It Is to Mourn an Absence

I did it all backward. Instead of taking my research trips before writing my book, like any normal historian would have, I’d waited. Only after I had completed my first draft did I finally make my way to Vilna (now Vilnius), the capital of Lithuania during its brief moment of independence in the interwar period.

In June 1941, when German troops overran the country, Vilna was home to 55,000 Jewish residents and 12,000–15,000 refugees from German-occupied Poland. Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the spiritual and academic center of Holocaust remembrance, described Vilna …

It Takes a Village to Create a Nation’s Memory  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

It Takes a Village to Create a Nation’s Memory 

Returning Jews and Local Communities Worked Together to Lead Germany Toward Historical Reckoning

In the early postwar years in the German town of Warendorf, no one contributed as much to facing the difficult past as Hugo Spiegel. He was not a learned man. …

Coming Home to the Holocaust | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Coming Home to the Holocaust

My Mother Barely Escaped Nazi Germany. I Returned to Remember Those Who Didn't and to Reclaim Them as My Own

In the town hall of Fischach, a village in southern Germany with a population of 2,500, I am staring at a glass display case holding the detritus of the Jews …

Why Don’t American Jews Search for Their Heritage in New York City?

Tourists Now See the Holocaust, Not the Lower East Side, as the Core of the Jewish Experience

While the Jewish heritage industry is booming in many places, it is struggling in New York.

This poses a problem not just for the city but also for those who …

How Concentration Camp Prisoners Found Comfort in Imaginary Feasts

From Ravensbrück to Mao's Labor Camps, Inmates Recited Family Recipes to Preserve Their Humanity

When the Soviet Union sent Dmitri Likhachev to an offshore detention camp in February 1928, the Russian scholar was crammed onto a train car with other prisoners and handed a …

How Jewish Was Stanley Kubrick?

The Director of 2001 and Eyes Wide Shut Had the 'Aura of a Talmudic Scholar' and Favored Plots Dealing With Cultural Outsiders

Many people are surprised to discover that legendary director Stanley Kubrick—whose masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey is 50 years old this year—was Jewish. He rarely spoke of it, his films …