Life provided the prisoner of Vilnius (Vilna) Ghetto, the famous theater critic and historian Markas Petuchauskas with such twists of fate, which you will not see even in the adventure movies. The author talks about people, who remained people during the Nazi and Soviet occupations in Lithuania. About those, who risked the life of their children in order to save the most important being on this planet – a human.
The author revealed mesmerizingly the tremendous sources of Litvaks’ art – unknown became known, memories became present. Markas Petuchauskas saw all the plays of Vilnius (Vilna) Ghetto and memorized their directors – the famous artists of Lithuanian Jerusalem.
During the last 25 years, memories were continued by the research of author. In this way, portraits of A. Suckeveris, Š. Kačerginskis, I. Segalis, L. Lewicka, Rozentaliai (Chaja, Leiba and Naava Piatka) and others appeared in the book. Litvaks – the Greats of the world – rose near the latter ones: Ch. Soutine, J. Lipchitz, Ben Shahn, N. Arbit Blatas, R. Gary, E. Levinas, J. Heifetz and others. The author communicated with the famous foreign artists: Cz. Milosz, C. Lanzmann, J. Sobol, P. Amoyal, A. Tamir, S. Bak, J. Liubimov, G. Tovstonogov and others. He is still friends with some of them. Portraits of them appeared in the book, too. Author had been participating in the art life for six decades, wrote several hundreds of articles and books about Lithuanian theater and had the chance to know the majority of famous Lithuanian culture persons: P. Kubertavičius, V. Dineika, R. Juknevičius, J. Miltinis, H. Vancevičius, D. Banionis, R. Adomaitis, S. Sondeckis, J. Grušas, E. Mieželaitis, and Just. Marcinkevičius, and others. The outlines of their portraits appeared in the book. The links between Lithuanian and Jewish cultures are revealed in the book in order to revive the dialog of their representatives, which was broken by two occupations. The Club of Lithuanian Jews Culture (1994-2008) was founded and headed by the author. The Club implemented huge international projects: Poetry Days of J. Brodskis (1996); Days of Vilnius Violin Dedicated for J. Heifetz (2001); International Days of Art in the Memory of Vilnius (Vilna) Ghetto Theater (1997; 2002); Culture Days Dedicated for Litvak Philosopher E. Levinas (2006). The famous artists participated in the cultural events from France, Germany, Poland, Check Republic, USA, Israel and other countries.
This publication (488 pages) is illustrated with about 260 photos, which are important and organic continuity of the story together with the comprehensive comments by the author. A big part of the book is dedicated for the Theater of Vilnius (Vilna) Ghetto. Markas Petuchauskas was the first to speak loudly about the art center, which was unknown for the circle of professionals earlier. The author revealed the Theater of Ghetto, which is unique in the European scale and is now widely accepted. Its small stage contained the huge cultural continent of Lithuanian Jerusalem, which was created by heroic effort of artists under the conditions of ruthless Nazi regime terror. The book reveals how the Ghetto became the spiritual and emotional symbol of resistance against the Nazi regime due to the theater. How Vilnius city spread the seeds of tolerance being multinational and multicultural since the times of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Although national cultures debated with each other, strong intellectual potential of nations, which lived here, was able to overcome all disagreements. Nowadays we notice bright reflections of tolerance and ideas of consolidation, while thinking about the strength of Vilnius (Vilna) Ghetto spirit. They matched with the experience of European Holocaust and promoted to unite against the Nazism. It gradually formed the idea of union and aspiration to be closer in European nations, which accepted the principles of western democracy.