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The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Dina Porat

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
book
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.001.0001
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This book is the only full biography in English of the partisan, poet, and patriot Abba Kovner (1918–1987), an unsung and largely unknown hero of the Second World War and Israel's War of ... More


Childhood in Sevastopol and Youth in Vilna: “A sad-eyed child,” March 1918–September 1939

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0004
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter details the early life of Abba Kovner, who was born in Sevastopol, at the southern tip of the Crimean peninsula, on March 14, 1918. Between 1934 and 1938, from age 16 to 20, he devoted ... More


Nakam: The Blood of Israel Will Take Revenge: “To kill six million Germans” August 1945–December 1947

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0017
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter considers Kovner's thoughts of revenge. Upon learning of the extent of Jews' suffering, Kovner and his comrades were overtaken by the idea of vengeance. It became their most important ... More


Information Officer of the Givati Brigade During the War of Independence: “Everything depends on your courage in battle, face-to-face” December 1947–December 1949

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0018
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter discusses Kovner's role in the Givanti Brigade, which he joined in mid-May 1948. The British Mandate had just come to an end, the establishment of the state of Israel was declared, and ... More


The Holocaust and Jewish History: “A poem in stone”

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0021
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter focuses on Kovner's involvement in museum planning. By developing plans for museums, Kovner sought to both preserve the past and bring it to life for the present and the future. His goal ... More


In the Forest and with the Partisans: “Of ten fingers, only the one left knows how to shoot!” October 1943–July 1944

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0013
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter discusses Kovner's role as commander of the Fareinikteh Partizaner Organizatzieh (United Partisan Organization, FPO). Kovner had to deal with a great many issues, over most of which he ... More


The Establishment and Training of the Underground: “A man cannot be a hero at the expense of those he loves” January 1942-Spring 1943

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0010
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter discusses Kovner's devotion to preparations for self-defense and a ghetto underground. The underground's members prepared for the day they would confront the Germans, when the ... More


Family and Friends: “And everything I have done should be corrected, / Except my life with you”

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0023
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter focuses on Kovner's relationship with his family and friends. Kovner loyally belonged to a number of sometimes overlapping circles: the Jewish people, Israel, his party (Mapam), the ... More


The Bricha (Escape from Europe) and the East European Survivors' Brigade: “A nightmarish … awful wandering” January–July 1945

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0016
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter details Kovner's activities from January to July 1945. Kovner left Vilna for Lublin, Poland, in December 1944, where he stayed until the beginning of March 1945. Ideas that he had begun ... More


Serving the Party and at Odds with It “Has the time come to forgive Germany?”

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0020
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

Kovner returned to Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh when the War of Independence ended, which marked the beginning of almost four decades of channeling his energy into various civilian projects. He was a member ... More


Finis: “One Should Not Summarize, for God's Sake, Not Summarize!”

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0024
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter reviews Kovner's many accomplishments. He was a poet, an intellectual, and a visionary with a rare sense of public and moral responsibility. Kovner had a long list of prizes and honors ... More


The Wittenberg Affair: “On the senseless night of July 16” March–September 1943

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0011
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter focuses on the Wittenberg affair, which culminated in the death of the commander of the Vilna ghetto underground, Yitzhak Wittenberg. Wittenberg acceded to Gestapo demands and ... More


From the Land of the Holocaust to the Land of Life: “Mammeh, may I cry now?” July–December 1944

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0015
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter details Kovner's return to Vilna in July 1944. Even before his return, Kovner knew that virtually nothing was left. Almost all his high school friends and teachers had been killed at ... More


The Kibbutz Rebbe: “I am Alone in the Fields”

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0022
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter details Kovner's activities in Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh, where he lived and worked for forty years, from the time he joined in 1946 until his death in 1987. Determined neither to allow the ... More


The Manifesto of January 1, 1942: “The rebellion began with the manifesto” September 1941–January 1942

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0009
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter describes the mass murder of Jews in Vilna, which prompted Kovner to write a manifesto entitled “Let us not go like lambs to the slaughter!,” and which had two main tenets: First, that ... More


Hiding in a Monastery: “A crimson life-line on the convent wall” June–December 1941

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0008
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter discusses the events following the German army's invasion of Lithuania. When the Germans entered Vilna, they found, as in other parts of Lithuania, a population which was sympathetic to ... More


Under Soviet Rule: “On the ruins of illusion” June 1940–June 1941

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0006
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter focuses on the events following the Soviet Union's annexation of Lithuania. For the Jewish community in Vilna, the official entrance of the Soviets was the first stage of its ... More


In Independent Lithuania: “Vilna is the birthplace of everything” October 1939–June 1940

in The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
June 2013
ISBN:
9780804762489
eISBN:
9780804772525
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:
10.11126/stanford/9780804762489.003.0005
Subject:
Society and Culture, Jewish Studies

This chapter discusses events in Lithuania between October 1939 and June 1940. These include the arrival of the Red Army on 19 September 1939, who were received by the Jews as the city's saviors from ... More


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