Birzai Stories
Return to Birzai Home Page

Return to Birzai Stories Menu

The Diary of Shmuel Evin (Samuel Evans) 1913-1985

Dreaming with Eyes Alert:
The Diary of Shmuel Evin (Samuel Evans) 1913-1985.

Evin began to write poems, of his loves, observations of life in
Birzhai, Lithuania, and relfections, in his twentieth year. His 700+
page manuscript, written in Hebrew with occasional use of Yiddish,
ends when he succeeds in being able to flee to the United States in
1938. Here follows three randomly chosen excerpts. Arbiter is seeking
funding for a translation of the entire corpus for partial publication
on this website (a pre-Holocaust blog!) and further dissemination
along with the author's photographs and relevant family

In the 1930s, Birzhai had a population of 12,000 (half were Jewish). A
town idyllically set amidst lakes, rivers, forests of fir trees with
chocolate fertile earth, only two Jews returned to remain after the
executions of Jews and their deportation to the Kovno (Kaunas) ghetto
during World War II. This unique diary documents the transformation of
a young man while his world slowly disintegrates.

Click here to read the dairy: