- Recreating the Strashun LibraryRecreating the Strashun Library
Rescued From the Ashes
What happened to the books that were looted by the Nazis?
After the war the Strashun books that had been looted by the Nazis and sent to Germany were recovered with the help of the U.S. Army and sent to YIVO in New York.
What happened to the books that were hidden from the Nazis?
Some of the books hidden by the Jews in the Vilna Ghetto were recovered by survivors of this group. They hoped to make them available to the public again in a new Vilna Jewish Museum. But this was not to be. Vilna was now under the rule of the Soviet Union which began a ruthless crackdown on expressions of Jewish culture almost immediately after the end of the war.
The survivors had to hide the books once again. This time they were able to save them from destruction with the help of a courageous Lithuanian librarian, Antanas Ulpis (1904-1981), who hid them in the Church of St. George, which had been repurposed as the Lithuanian Book Repository. He kept them secret for decades. It was not until 1988 that news of their existence became public.