Libraries of the Holocaust: What is Written will Never Die

Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Simaite by Julija Sukys

By Meredith Wood Bahuriak

What we learn from our predecessors, we leave for some successor to follow. In Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Simaite, author Julija Sukys dances with the ghost of Ona Simaite in order to remember and honor not just the Holocaust, but Simaite’s life, thoughts, views, and actions. As Sukys unravels the biography of Simaite, she struggles to understand the story she desperately seeks to find.

A treasurer of words, Simaite carefully collected, preserved and archived a written record of her life including thousands of letters, scores of diaries, articles, and press clippings.  A librarian at Vilna University, she used her position to aid and rescue Jews with the excuse of retrieving overdue library books from Jewish students as an entry into the Vilna ghetto. Continue reading