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Yad Vashem The Jerusalem of Lithuania: The Story of the Jewish Community of Vilna

Vilna During the Holocaust

Twenty-one and One More

Shabtai-Shepsel BlecherShabtai-Shepsel Blecher
Shabtai-Shepsel Blecher with friendsShabtai-Shepsel Blecher with friends
Genia-Gitl Blecher-SzapiroGenia-Gitl Blecher-Szapiro
A theatre production in the Vilna GhettoA theatre production in the Vilna Ghetto

Shabtai Blecher, an actor in the State Yiddish Theatre in Vilna, was one of the initiators of the ghetto theatre and a central actor within it. Among the activities initiated by the Judenrat in the ghetto, Blecher wrote the life stories of his fellow performers that had died during the first year of German occupation. Blecher penned dozens of biographies of artists that had been murdered in Ponary, as well as a biography of an actor who had died of typhus in the ghetto. In September 1943, during the liquidation of the ghetto, Blecher was sent with other Jews from Vilna to the Klooga camp in Estonia, where he was murdered.

In September 1943, the biographical pages Blecher had written were found rolling along the street by Boleslaw Boratynski, who passed them onto the Etingen family whom he was hiding in his home. The title page was not among them.

In 1962, Blecher's writings were published in New York in their original language, Yiddish. The book's editors added to the twenty-one biographies Blecher had composed one more biography – that of Blecher himself. They called the work Twenty-one and One More.

20 were murdered at Ponary:

  1. Lew Szryftzecer
  2. Frania Winter
  3. Moriss Liampa
  4. Chasz Yosef
  5. Basch Eidina
  6. Kadish Chasz
  7. Frida Vitalin
  8. Eliashev Nikolai
  9. Musia Smarganski
  10. Moshe Zelwer
  11. Nadia Radin (dancer)
  12. Zablocki Shimon
  13. Michael Katz
  14. Mina Siegelboim
  15. Stower Abraham
  16. Ben-Zion Abelsen
  17. Israel Zubek
  18. Sara Zubek
  19. Lew Koznicow
  20. Straschun Tzilia
  21. One died of typhus in the ghetto: Simche Lipowski
  22. And one was murdered in Klooga: Shabtai Blecher
התערוכה הוקמה בתמיכתו הנדיבה של מר נחמיה בורגין לזכר הוריו היקרים והאהובים ניצולי השואה זלטה (זהבה) בורגין ז"ל, ויחיאל בורגין ז"ל.