The official website of Until Our Last Breath: A Holocaust Story of Love & Partisan Resistance published by St. Martin's Press and maintained by author Michael Bart.
A Holocaust Story of Love and Partisan Resistance

Library Reviews

Nominated by the American Library Association for a Sophie Brody Medal
a national award for the most distinguished contribution to Jewish literature published in the United States

Winner of the 60th Annual Christopher Award!

  • Booklist Online: Review from the American Library Association

    April, 01 2008

  • ALA"Bart posits that his book presents two interrelated narratives. One is historical, describing events pertaining to the Nazi occupation of Lithuania and the experiences of the Jews during those years. The other is the story of Leizer and Zenia Bart, his parents. They had been involved in the Jewish underground resistance during World War II with a group led by Abba Kovner, and they had spent nearly a year living in the forest, blowing up trains and sabotaging telephone and other communication equipment. They had lived in the Vilna ghetto for two years before escaping to join the partisans. Bart was able to locate his parents' records and some important documents, including letters his mother had written to the U.S. from Vilna after the liberation and later from Rome where she and her husband lived as displaced persons. He also talked with Holocaust survivors who had known them. With 106 black-and-white photographs, this book is a work of exceptional historical importance."

    --Cohen, George.

  • Contemporary Authors: Published by Gale, Contemporary Authors is a literary database that offers libraries and universities access to biographical data on many of today's modern authors.

    May, 06 2009

  • Contemporary Authors"Michael Bart is the coauthor of Until Our Last Breath: A Holocaust Story of Love and Partisan Resistance, published in 2008. With the help of Laurel Corona, a professor of English and humanities at San Diego City College, Bart tells the story of his parents' experience in the Lithuanian anti-Nazi resistance and their survival of the Holocaust."

    "As Bart relates, his parents, Leizer and Zenia, hardly ever talked about what they went through during World War II. However, when he was growing up his father proudly spoke of his membership in the underground and activities as a partisan fighter. It was only after Leizer died in 1996 that the author began serious research into his parents' story. Bart reveals how he began to piece together the story: "With my mother's initial prodding, and my wife's encouragement I began a 10 year research project into my family's history. I began contacting Holocaust survivors who knew my parents and relatives. Where there were gaps in my parents' story, survivors who knew them well helped me fill in the gaps. By going back and forth between my ever growing list of contacts, I was able to piece together a more complete story about their lives." In addition to several interviews of former Vilna ghetto prisoners and partisan fighters, Bart used records and documents he located, including letters his mother wrote, to complete his account."

    "According to Bart, Until Our Last Breath presents two interrelated narratives. Primarily the story of his parents, the book also describes the experiences of Lithuanian Jews under the Nazi occupation during World War II. The book explains in detail the two years his parents spent in the Vilna ghetto before escaping to join the Jewish underground. For nearly a year afterward, they lived in the forest and took part in various acts of sabotage against German-controlled installations, including trains and communication lines. "

    "According to a contributor for Kirkus Reviews, the book "has an intimate tone, yet the authors also provide scholarly material on key players in the Lithuanian and Nazi regimes that enables readers to place the couple's experiences in context." Booklist's George Cohen was also impressed with the book, calling it "a work of exceptional historical importance." A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised Until Our Last Breath as "a powerful tale of the triumph of love under extremely difficult conditions."

    Bart told CA: "In 1995 while visiting my parents' house, my mom told me the Nazis began bombing her hometown on June 22, 1941. She then told me that an hour earlier; she had visited a house that was flattened by a Nazi bomb. My response to her was, 'That's amazing.' She then said, 'That's nothing; I should have been killed twenty times, that was just the first time.' My mother then told me that she wanted to write down their experiences during the war. However, she felt that since my father was too sick to relive the pain, we needed to wait until a later date. My mom's words that day have always stayed with me."

    "My father's strength and wisdom continues to influence and motivate me every day. He always said, 'Doing the right thing isn't always easy, but it's always right.' The thing that had the biggest impact on my life happened before I was born. Because of the Holocaust I never had any grandparents, aunts, uncles or first cousins because they were all killed. My parents didn't speak often about their experiences, but I could always feel their pain. I tried to hide from the Holocaust and block out the emotions that come from being a child of survivors. My research has helped me to better understand my parents' experiences, and has made me very proud of my heritage."

    "I hope this book lets the world know what happened to the Jews from Vilna and to my family. Ordinary Lithuanians collaborated with the Nazis and murdered 96 percent of the Jewish population in Vilna. No other Jewish community in Nazi-occupied Europe was so comprehensively destroyed. My other goal was to inform the readers about the heroic Jewish resistance and partisan fighters. The Partisans of Vilna fought the Nazis for the honor of their families and the dignity of the Jewish people. My goal for this book is a memorial to the Jews from Vilna, to the partisan and resistance fighters, and to my parents. I hope this story is shared so we 'Never Forget.'"

    Until Our Last Breath - contact author Michael Bart

    Until Our Last Breath - represented by Barbara Braun & Associates

    Until Our Last Breath - published by St. Martin's Press

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