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The Fall of a SparrowThe Life and Times of Abba Kovner$
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Dina Porat

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804762489

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.001.0001

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Hiding in a Monastery

Hiding in a Monastery

“A crimson life-line on the convent wall” June–December 1941

(p.41) Four Hiding in a Monastery
The Fall of a Sparrow
Stanford University Press

This chapter discusses the events following the German army's invasion of Lithuania. When the Germans entered Vilna, they found, as in other parts of Lithuania, a population which was sympathetic to the new occupier, happy that the Soviets were gone, and hoping to receive political independence from Germany. Lithuanian organizations active before the German invasion were now eager to fight alongside the Nazis, and distributed flyers calling for the destruction of the Jewish population, the seizure of Jewish property, and the creation of conditions that would not permit continued Jewish existence in Lithuania. Kovner kept a small pocket diary in which he noted the most important events affecting the entire community. He wrote of Aktionen (the systematic raids to round up the Jewish population), decrees, Ponar (the killing site close to Vilna), and Jews in nearby towns and camps. Some Jews sought refuge in the Dominican Convent of the Little Sisters, located about 6 kilometers outside the city on the road from Vilna to Wilejka. In addition to taking care of the Jews in hiding, the nuns exploited the mother superior's connections to obtain documents and money for them, and to secure information and hiding places for their relatives in the city.

Keywords:   Abba Kovner, Lithuania, German army, Jews, Dominican Convent

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