The book, which is to be published by Oxford University in 2013, was edited by Šarūnas Liekis, dean and professor of the Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Antony Polonsky, who is is Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and ChaeRan Freeze, associate professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University.
The volume, based on scholarship that has emerged since the fall of communism, is a wide-ranging contribution to the complex history of the Jews in Lithuania. Focusing on the specific character of Lithuanian Jewry, the volume opens by examining how their relationship with the surrounding society developed after 1772, both under tsarist rule and then in independent Lithuania. Moving to more recent times, the devastating impact on the Jewish community of the Soviet and Nazi occupations during the Second World War is discussed, as are the further negative consequences on Jewish life of the reoccupation of the country by the Soviets between 1944 and 1990.
The volume concludes with material on the slow revival of Jewish life since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the re-emergence of an independent Lithuania, which was accompanied by the revival of many disciplines, such as the study of Jewish history, repressed by Soviet censorship. This revived interest in the country's Jewish past is now playing a key role in the broader transformation of historical memory of the post-Soviet era and the problem of coming to terms with the widespread local collaboration in Lithuania during the Holocaust—a process which has led to important scholarly advances but also to bitter controversy.
The conference was organized by the UCL Institute of Jewish Studies and the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies, Oxford University, in cooperation with the Lithuanian Embassy in London.