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"A Partisan of Vilna" is the memoir of Rachel Margolis, the sole survivor of her family, who escaped from the Vilna Ghetto with other members of the resistance movement, the FPO (United Partisan Organization), and joined the Soviet partisans in the forests of Lithuania to sabotage the Nazis. Beginning with an account of Rachel's life as a precocious, privileged girl in pre-war Vilna, it goes on to detail life in the Vilna Ghetto, including the development and struggles of the FPO against the Nazis. Finally, the book chronicles the escape of a group of FPO members into the forest of Belarus, where Rachel became a partisan fighter. Rather than 'keep house' back at their bunker like other female partisans, Rachel demanded assignments to active duty alongside the men. Going on military assignments, Rachel burned down a bridge, blew up railroad tracks, and helped bring in food supplies for her fellow partisans. The book opens with an introductory essay by renowned Polish historian, Antony Polonsky.
After the Holocaust, Rachel Margolis received a Ph.D. in biology in and taught until the late 1980's. She then co-founded Lithuania's only real Holocaust museum, the Green House in Vilnius. She is also responsible for the discovery and transcription of the Kazimierz Sakowicz diary, published here in the US under the title, Ponary Diary: A Bystander's Account of Mass Murder (Yale University Press, 2004).