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

Magazine & Publication Reviews

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 San Diego Jewish Journal: Teach
    By TinaMarie Bernard
    Printed: April 2009, Iyar 5769

  • San Diego Jewish Journal "Michael Bart has much to celebrate these days. He recently co-authored a book with Laurel Corona called, Until Our Last Breath: A Holocaust Story of Love and Partisan Resistance. It is a remarkable tale that needed to be told, and the coauthors do so with dignity, humility and strength. Until Our Last Breath chronicles the love story of Bart's parents, Zenia and Leizer, against the backdrop of the Vilna ghetto in Lithuania. It required 10 years of painstaking research to document his family history, how they met, where they lived and--most compelling of all for the reader--their role in the Jewish resistance..."

    San Diego Jewish Journal "After reading this book, it is no wonder that "Until Our Last Breath" is the winner of the prestigious Christopher Award. Former winners include Elie Wiesel, and this year, Bart will be attending the 60th anniversary gala award ceremony April 16 to accept this honor at the McGraw-Hill building in New York City. He explains, "This award is given in publishing, film, broadcast and cable remind audiences and readers, young or old, of all faiths, to make a difference and positively influence our world." His book, "Until Our Last Breath," certainly accomplished that with its story of love and triumph in the face of overwhelming odds." For the complete book review and article please visit their website at

  • YIVO NEWS--Nusakh Vilne Commemorative Ceremony: Perpetuating the Living Legacy of Vilna's Jewish Culture and Tradition
    The Yearly Publication of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
    Printed: Winter 5769/2008

  • YIVO News

    YIVO News
    "Marking the 65th anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna ghetto and the 55th anniversary since the formation of the Nusakh Vilne landsmanshaft, YIVO, in conjunction with Nusakh Vilne, hosted its fourth annual commemorative ceremony. In accordance with the organization's stipulations, the ceremony was held at YIVO on September 21, the Sunday closest to the date when the ghetto's final liquidation began--September 23, 1943."

    "YIVO Executive Director Carl Rheins ushered in the program with a speech about growing tensions in Lithuanian-Jewish relations. Of particular concern, according to Rheins, is the refusal of the Lithuanian government to take an active stand on the restitution of looted Jewish assets and stolen property. This includes a significant number of books from the Strashun Library at YIVO's original institute."

    "The afternoon's keynote speaker was Michael Bart of San Diego. Bart is the son of Holocaust survivors Leizer and Zenia Bart (both now deceased), who were members of the Vilna ghetto underground and fought in the Jewish partisan fighting group Nekamah (Avengers), led by Abba Kovner. Bart's recent book about his parents' wartime experiences and those of the Jewish Resistance--the culmination of a ten-year research project to learn more about his parents' time in the Vilna ghetto--is titled Until Our Last Breath, a testament to the urgent call delivered by Abba Kovner in December 1941, in which he implored the Jewish youth not to go like sheep to slaughter, but to revolt. His closing remarks were, "Arise! Arise with your last breath!"

    "Bart had known relatively little about his parents' activities during the war because they rarely spoke about those times. It was at his father's funeral that one of the mourners approached him to say that he should inscribe the word nekamah on his father's headstone to acknowledge his heroic contributions to the Jewish resistance movement in Vilna. Prior to that moment, Bart had no knowledge of the word nekamah. This newfound awareness motivated Bart's research into Jewish Vilna and his Lithuanian Jewish heritage."

    "In his remarks, Bart conveyed how his parents and 120 other members of the Jewish underground escaped from the Vilna ghetto to the Rudnicki forest, 25 miles away, where they survived the particularly bitter winter of 1943 in bunkers camouflaged by tree limbs, subsisting on a combination of swamp water and flour and food pilfered from nearby towns and villages. At the same time, they managed to cut telephone lines and derail and bomb German trains, many of which contained weapons and explosives." For the complete article, please click the image above.

  • Detroit Jewish News--The Whole Truth: A man who uncovered the incredible story of his parents' bravery demonstrates the lure of history and the pleasure of terrific nonfiction
    Printed: October 30, 2008

  • Lecture & Book Signing Lecture & Book Signing Lecture & Book Signing
    DETROIT--Until Our Last Breath: a Holocaust Story of Love and Partisan Resistance by Michael Bart tells the story of his parents, Leizer and Zenia, who were part of the World War II resistance group the Avengers:

    Q: Did you ever suspect your parents might once have led such unusual lives?

    A: "While I was growing up, my parents did not speak often about their Holocaust experiences. Either it was very painful for them to speak about or they didn't want to emotionally burden my brother and I with the agony of their past."

    "However, my mom spoke often about being born and raised in Vilna, a city she described as having wonderful Jewish culture rich with many synagogues (106 prewar) and institutes of Jewish learning. She was very proud to be from Vilna."

    "My dad spoke often about being one of the partisans of Vilna with Abba Kovner, whom my parents referred to as "our commander." My father was very proud to have been a mainline fighter whose assignments were primarily the sabotage and destruction of Nazi trains. He knew his contributions were important in slowing the transportation of supplies, fuel and troops."

    "It was only in the last two years of my dad's life (1994-1996) when he began to tell me about my mother's losses, and my mom told me about my dad's losses. This is when I began to ask many questions."

    Q: So many moments in your parents' histories--when your mother escaped death--and in your own research--such as when you discovered the picture of your parents with Abba Kovner--were extraordinary, miraculous even. Do you feel different about life after this experience?

    A: "My life changed the day of my father's funeral in 1996, when an unidentified man told me to inscribe "Freedom Fighters of Nekamah" on the headstone. Shortly after the funeral, I began my research. What I learned made me very proud of my parents and of my Jewish heritage. My father and other former partisans said to me that they didn't think they would survive the war; and they were going to fight the Nazis for the honor of their family and for the dignity of the Jewish people."

    "My parents made two pledges to each other: to love each other and to fight the Nazis. Their commitment was 'until our last breath.'"

    Michael Bart speaks 1:30 p.m. Sunday, November 09 at the Detroit Jewish Book Fair

  • Jewish Book World--Reviews: Biography and Memoir
    The Quarterly Publication of the Jewish Book Council
    Printed: Winter 5769/2008

  • Jewish Book World Jewish Book World

    Jewish Book World
    "After learning at his father's funeral that his father had been in the Freedom Fighters, a Jewish resistance movement in Vilna, Lithuania, the author spent the next ten years researching both the historical and personal stories of this time and place, particularly his parents' roles in the Resistance. His parents, Leizer and Zenia, had been married in the Ghetto by one of the last rabbis left alive. Instead of waiting in the Vilna Ghetto to be shipped to Auschwitz, the author's parents had escaped to the Rudnicki forest, about twenty-five miles from the ghetto, and became active members of Abba Kovner's Jewish partisan group, "the Avengers." Theirs was a love story that flourished despite the privations of the Ghetto and the partners' disparate ages and social status."

    "Within the larger tale are other dramatic and poignant stories. One deals with whether a Jew's blood is allowed to be spilled to save the life of other Jews, if the intended victim does not wish to martyr himself. This is not primarily a book of derring do but of decisions and choices that had to be made. It is an invaluable resource for this period and place that goes far beyond other books this reviewer has read on the topic. Photos."

  • Hadassah Magazine--Guide to Jewish Literature
    The Bi-Monthly Magazine of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America
  • Hadassah Magazine

    Printed: February 2009 Hadassah Magazine

    "Michael Bart tells of his parents' resistance in the Vilna ghetto and their experiences as members of the partisans of Vilna in Abba Kovner's Avengers group. This is a powerful story of heroic Jewish partisans fighting back."

    Hardcover/$25.95, St. Martin's Press. Available in bookstores & online.

    Printed: April/May 2009 Hadassah Magazine

    "Michael Bart tells of his parents' resistance in Abba Kovner's Avengers group. A powerful story of heroic Jewish partisans fighting back. Nominated for a Sophie Brody Award from the American Library Association for the most distinguished contribution to Jewish literature."

    Hardcover/$25.95, St. Martin's Press. Available in bookstores & online at

    Hadassah Magazine on-line--News, Media, & Publications April/May 2009

    "After Michael Bart's father died, he embarked on a 10-year research project to find out more details about his parents' time in the Vilna ghetto, where they met and married, and their activities as members of the Jewish resistance movement Freedom Fighters of Nekamah. His book ties his parents' tale of love and survival into the collective story of the Vilna ghetto, the Jewish partisans and wider themes of world history."

    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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