“The Book Smugglers” Lesson Plan


  • Students will be able to define spiritual resistance.
  • Students will analyze choices and choiceless choices made by those in the Vilna Ghetto.
  • Students will evaluate the significance of culture in societies.
  • Students will use critical thinking skills as they consider the connection of this history to their own world.


The Book Smugglers exhibitin explores a little known act of resistance and survival. In the Vilna Ghetto – and later during the post-war Soviet Union – a group of people rescued Jewish cultural treasures for future generations.

In The Book Smugglers, author David E. Fishman used Jewish, German and Soviet documents to tell the story of this amazing group of partisans and poets. Risking their lives for books and manuscripts, they made a choice to insure that the “Jerusalem of Lithuania” would not be forgotten. The acts of both spiritual and physical resistance conducted by these men and women challenges the view of Jewish people as passive targets of Nazi aggression. The book and exhibition remind us that violence against the Jewish people didn’t end in 1945. Life under the Soviet Union had new perils to face with courage and cunning.


US History Since 1877 – 7(C), 7(D)

World History – 12(A), 12(B), 12(C)