The official website of Until Our Last Breath: A Holocaust Story of Love & Partisan Resistance published by St. Martin's Press and maintained by author Michael Bart.
A Holocaust Story of Love and Partisan Resistance

Writing Process

Nominated by the American Library Association for a Sophie Brody Medal
a national award for the most distinguished contribution to Jewish literature published in the United States

Winner of the 60th Annual Christopher Award!

The Writing Process

I am the son of Holocaust survivors. I entered into a writing collaboration with Laurel Corona, a professor of English and Humanities at San Diego City College. Laurel's role was to write. My role was to research and edit. My goal was to ensure that everything in the book was accurate with the information uncovered during my research, and the information my parents had shared with me. I provided Laurel the information for the book in the form of family letters, documents, and books, along with the information for the preface; and details about my family for each chapter of the manuscript.

In June of 2004, my wife Bonnie and I went together with Laurel to Vilnius Lithuania (Vilna). This trip was very helpful to visualize the city and visit the Rudnicki Forest where my parents were members of the Partisans of Vilna. Our guide to the forest was Fania Jocheles, a former partisan fighter who shared the same underground bunker as my parents. Bonnie and I went on a second trip to Vilnius, Lithuania in August 2005 and were given a tour by both Fania Jocheles and Motl Gurwitz of the Nekamah base camp in the Rudnicki forest. Motl described to me how the partisan fighters, like he and my dad, blew up trains. I was constantly acquiring new information from Holocaust survivors, former partisan fighters, and other sources.

Much gratitude to former partisans Fania Jocheles & Motl Gurwitz. Click here for an article on the Jewish partisans at Vilna's liberation
Nekamah's base camp
My wife Bonnie & I, with former partisans Fania Jocheles and Motl Gurwitz at the 'Nekamah' base camp in the Rudnicki forest in 2005

Laurel began writing the manuscript in the summer of 2004. Bonnie, felt it would be helpful if the book was better documented and sourced by adding footnotes. Bonnie began reviewing dozens of hours of my videotaped interviews with Holocaust survivors, relatives, and friends of my parents. Bonnie used these interviews, plus my research materials to insert over 250 footnotes into the manuscript.

In March of 2007, Barbara Braun, our literary agent in New York City received an offer for publication of UNTIL OUR LAST BREATH from St. Martin's Press.

In June of 2007, Bonnie and I flew to New York to hand deliver the finished manuscript to Daniela Rapp, our editor at St. Martin's Press. The book was published on May 13, 2008. Very special thanks to my editor Daniela Rapp and the entire team at St. Martin's Press. My deepest appreciation and respect goes to Daniela Rapp who understood the importance of my parents' biography and worked very hard to have it published and shared with everyone.

With very special thanks to my wife Bonnie for her tireless efforts and contributions in research, filming of interviews, compiling & writing the endnotes, continuous editing and review of text, and the acquisition, placement and captions of the 106 archival photographs in the book.

Michael Bart

Until Our Last Breath - contact author Michael Bart

Until Our Last Breath - represented by Barbara Braun & Associates

Until Our Last Breath - published by St. Martin's Press

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Writing Process