Translation of Lite

Edited by:
Dr. Mendel Sudarsky
Uriah Katzenelenbogen
J. Kissin
Berl Kagan

Published in New York, NY, 1951



Project Coordinators

Max Heffler

Sonia Kovitz (Emerita)


Our sincere appreciation to Sondra Ettlinger for extracting the pictures
from the original book, enabling their addition to the project.


This is a translation from: Lite (vol.1), ed. Mendel Sudarsky, and Uriah Katzenelenbogen.
New York: Jewish-Cultural Society, 1951

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see also Lite (Volume2)

    Introduction Prof. Louis Ginzberg 25
    Lithuania in Our Memory Uriah Katzenelenbogen 33
    The History of the Lithuanian Jews – From the Middle Ages to the First World War (A General Survey)
    The Distinctive Traits in the History of the Lithuanian Jews – When Have the Jews Appeared in Lithuania? – The Realm of Lithuania in the Middle Ages – The Union of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1386 – The Charters of 1388 and 1389 for the Jews in Lithuania – The Reign of Vytautas (1386-1430), a “Bright Era” for the Lithuanian Jews – King and Grand Duke Casimir (1440-1492) Continues the Policies Regarding the Jews of Vytautas – The Expulsion of the Jews in 1495 – The Return of the Jews in 1503 – The Expanding of the Jewish Population in the 16th Century – The Conditions of the Jews under the Rule of Sigismund – Sigismund Augustus (1548-1572), a Liberal Ruler – Anti-Jewish Tendencies among the Middle Classes of the Urban Population and in the Circles of Impoverished Gentry – The Magdeburg Law Aggravates the Position of the Jewish Merchants and Artisans – Henry Válois, a Prince of France, becomes King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania – A Hard Struggle for the Morsel of Bread after the Economic Prosperity at the End of the 16th Century and in the Beginning of the 17th – The Disaster Brought by the Invasion of Moscow. The Initial Emigration to Western Europe – The Economic Decline Brings Social Discrimination – Vilnius (Wilno) and Kaunas (Kovno) – Spiritual and Cultural Upsurge in the 17th and 18th Centuries – Lithuanian Jews under the Rule of Russia – The Strife between the Hasidim and the Misnagdim – The Rise of the Haskalah – Under the Reign of Nicholas I – The Difficult Path of the Haskalah and its Progress – The Epoch of Alexander II – Changes in Social-Economic Conditions in the Second Half of the 19th Century – 1869, the Beginning of the Emigration from the Kovno Province to the U S A. – Emigration and Self-Help, Zionism and Bundism – The Revolution in Russia (1905) – On the Eve of the First World War.
Dr. Mark Wishnitzer 43
    The Exile of the Lithuanian Jews in the Conflagration of the First World War (1914-1918)
1. Outbreak of the War – 2. On the Eve of the Exile – 3. The “Kuzhi Frame-up” and the Expulsion of Lithuanian Jews – 4. The Resounding Effect of the Exile and New Banishments – 5. The “Yekopo” (Jewish Committee of Relief) Aids the Hapless Wanderers – 6. Pogroms on Lithuanian Jews Who Avoided the Expulsion – 7. The Plight of the Refugees – 8. Lithuanian Jews on a Strange Soil – 9. The February Revoluticn of 1917 – 10. Repatriation.
Louis Stein 89
    Jews in the Independent Lithuania (Between the Two World Wars)
The Establishment of the Lithuanian “Taryba” (Council) – The Taryba of Vilnius Proclaims the Independence of Lithuania and Selects a King – Jews are Invited to Participate in the Taryba and in the Ministerial Cabinet – Lithuanian-Jewish Freindship. Dr. Vigodsky the First Jewish Minister – The Lithuanian Government Moves to Kaunas – The Molding of the Jewish National Autonomy – The Government Declaration of May 12, 1922 – The Jewish Part in Political and Industrial Life – Jewish Cultural and Social Achievements – The Origination of the Jewish National Council – Obstacles in its Activities – The “Golden Era” of the National Autonomy – The Downthrow – The Bitter Disappointment – The Resignation of the Minister of Jewish Affairs, Dr. Soloveichik – The Desperate Struggle for National Autonomy – Anti-Jewish Regulations and the Daubing of Jewish Signs – The Liquidation of the Ministry for Jewish Affairs and the Jewish National Council – The Blow at the Jewish Communities (Kehilot) – Anti-Jewish Decrees – The Fight of the Jewish Parliamentarians (Jewish Seim-Faction) for Jewish Rights – Smetona's Goup d'Etat, December 17, 1926 – Remnants of the National Autonomy – New Restrictions against Jews – The Inner Strength of the Lithuanian Jewry.
Dr. Mendel Sudarsky 119
    The Last Year of Existence of the Lithuanian Jewry Dr. Samuel Greenhaus 153
    Vaad of Lithuania (Council of the Union of the Jewish Communities, 1623-1761), Its Structure and Role in the Social Life of the Lithuanian Jews
1. Origin of the Vaad of Lithuania and its General Character – 2. The Economic Legislation of the Vaad – 3. Its Regulations Regarding Education, Social Protection, Family Life and the Ways of Conduct – 4. The Discipline of the Communities and the Functions of their Councils – 5. The Defense of the Rights of the Jews and he Fighting Off of Instigators against Jews – 6. The Composition of the Vaad – 7. Its Business Order – 8. The Executive Body of the Vaad – 9. Contentions among the Leading Forces – 10. Cycles in the History of the Vaad – 11. The Autonomical Organization of the Communities in Samegitia.
Dr. Mark Wishnitzer 163
    The Origin of the Karaites in Lithuania and Poland Dr. J. Brutzkus 193
    The Karaites of the Last 150 Years M. Uriel 203
    To the History of the Conference in Kaunas in 1869 Gregory Aronson 209
    The Conference in Kaunas in 1909 G. A. 219
    The Jewish National Autonomy in Independent Lithuania (Reminiscences with a Critical View) Dr. Joseph Berger 223
    The Second Conference of the Jewish Communities (Kehilot) of Lithuania Dr. E. Widans 241
    The Jewish National Assembly in Lithuania L. Shimoni 251
    The Jews in the Seim (Diet) of Lithuania M. S. 273
    The Jewish Faction in the Seim of Lithuania Dr. Jacob Robinson 275
    The Jewish Faction of the Second Seim A. Makovsky 279
    The Jews in the Municipal Administration Att. Lazar Lowenstein 287
    Lithuania and Its Fight for Vilnius Dr. Mendel Sudarsky 295


1. The Ethnographical and Historical Boundaries of Lithuania – 2. The Heathen Lithuania – 3. In the Christian Lithuania – 4. The Jews among Subjugated Peasant Peoples – 5. Insurrections, Liberation of Peasants, Prohibition of Lithuanian and Whiterussian Languages – 6. Lithuania, a Hostelry of Jewish Learning – 7. The Language Milieu of the Haskalah – 8. Litvaks the World Over – 9. Hopes for Good-Neighborly Relations among the Peoples of Lithuania – 10. The Split Lithuania – 11. Litvaks after the Destruction of the Lithuanian Jewry.
Uriah Katzenelenbogen 307
    The Tribe of the Litvaks
1. The Air of Lithuania – 2. The Interpretation of a “Cross-Head" (Tseilom-Kop) – 3. King Solomon Receives the Last Word – 4. And This is the Blessing.
Dr. Aaron Steinberg 393
    The Litvaks of Kurland B. Rivkin 407
    Jewish Foods in Lithuania Hirsh Abramovitz 417
    Our Lithuanian Yiddish
1. Among My People I Live – 2. Not All of the Lithuanian Jews Talk Alike – 3. Common Peculiarities in the Sounds of all Colloquialisms – 4. The Notorious Confusion of S and Sh (Sabesdiker Losn) – 5. The Yiddish of Samogitia – 6. The Usual Lithuanian Yiddish – 7. The Yiddish of Suvlkija – 8. About the Origin of the Diversity of Colloquialisms – 9. The Grammatical Gender in our Usage – 10. More Idiosyncrasies in the Grammar of the Lithuanian Dialect – 11. The Vocabulary of the Lithuanian Yiddish – 12. Lithuanianisms in Yiddish – 13. Typical Proverbs of Our Localities.
Yudel Mark 429
    Types of Lithuanian Jews Painted by Jewish Artists
Sholem Feigensohn – Jewish Women, His Mother; Mark Chagall – An Ethrog and Palm Branch Carrier, A Scroll Reader, A Preacher; J. Messenblum – A Lithuanian Jew; Max Band – A Laborer; Albert Rappoport – A Pauper-Wanderer; Sholem Feigensohn – A Village Pedlar, His Father, A Learner, Hermann Struck – A Porter, A Bricklayer, A Coachman.
    Learning in Lithuania in the 19th Century
Introductory – Hasidot and Misnagdot – The Gaon of Wilno and his Disciples – The Yeshibah of Volozhin – The Yeshibot of Mir and Eishishkai – The Medium Yeshibot – Learners in Synagogues – Rabbi Israel Salanter and the Musar-Movement – The Musar-Yeshibot of Slabodka (Viliampole) and Novogrodek.
A. Menes 483
    The Gaon of Wilno Rabbi Elijah Prof. Louis Ginzberg 527
    The Originators of the Musar-Movement
1. Rabbi Joseph Zundl Salanter – 2. Rabbi Israel Salanter – 3. Rabbi Isaac Blazer.
A. R. Malachi 539
    Rabbi Isaac Elchanan
Transcribed for the Book “Lite” by Uriah Katzenelenbogen
Narrated by Prof. Chaim Tchernowitz 567
    Rabbi Isaac of Panevczhys Rabbi M. S. Shapiro 577
    Rabbi Abraham Duber Shapiro (The Last Chief Rabbi of Kaunas) Rabbi M. S. Shapiro 583
    Habad Aaron Zeitlin 589
    Hasidot and Misnagdot Rabbi Moses Hyim Adler 599
    The Method of Interpretation in the Lithuanian Yeshibot Prof. Samuel Atlas 605
    In the Yeshibah of Volozhin Ben-Zion Pecker 615
    The Yeshibah of Telshiai Rabbi Elijah Meir Bloch 623
    The Yeshibah of Mir M. Hindes 631
    Lyda, Its Rabbis and Its Yeshibah M. Evensky 635
    The Kibutz of Panevezhys Isaac Rivkind 645
    The Yeshibah in Radun (Chofetz-Chaim Yeshibah) A. Rivkes 653
1. Kaunas-Aleksotai – 2. How Simcha Zissl was Converted to Musar and his Disciple Nathan Hirsch– 3. Slabodka and Nehardea – 4. A Last Musar-Discourse.
Piesach Markus 663
    The Cultural History of the Haskalah of the Lithuanian Jews
The Forerunners of the Haskalah Movement – The First Champions of the Maskilim in Lithuania – The Haskalah in Lithuania in the Period of 1794 to 1830 – Jewish Printing Establishments in Lithuania – Prince Adam Czartoryski, the “Maskilizator” – Jews in the University of Wilno – Lithuania after 1812 – Haskalah in Lithuania in the Years 1824-1841 – The Officious Haskalah (1841-1873) – The Rabbinical Seminary of Wilno – The Situation After 1863 – The Ideological Strife – Haskalah-Literature.
Dr. Jacob Shatzky 691
    Mordecai Aaron Ginzburg and His Tract “Abiezer.” Dr. Menahem G. Glenn 759
    The Sages of Zhagare Dr. Hermann Frank 775
    Abraham Mapu Baal Ditnion (Nahum Shtiff) 785
    Micah Joseph Lebensohn and Mordecai Zvi Manne Mordecai Jaffe 789
    Eisik Meir Dick S. Charney 795
    Michel Gordon
1. Michel Gordon, the Poet – 2. Michel Gordon, the Man.
S. Charney 799
    Eliakim Zunser and His Songs J. Kissin 817


    The Economic Condition of the Jews in Lithuania (1919-1939)
I. The Increase and the National Status of the Population of Lithuania – II. The Jewish Population in Kovno Government for the Last Century – III. The Population Movement of the Lithuanian Jews – IV The Emigration of the Jews and Non-Jews – V. The Economic Development of the Kovno-Government and the Jewish Participation in it in the Middle of the 19th Century – VI. The Transition Period between Kovno-Government and Independent Country – VII. The Social Aspects of the Different Peoples in Independent Lithuania according to the Census of 1923 – VIII. The Economic Advancement of the Independent Lithunia – IX. The Economic Condition of the Jews in Independent Lithuania – X. Jewish Artisans in Independent Lithuania – XI. Jews in the Professions – XII. The Jewish Cooperative Movement.
Jacob Lestchinsky 827
    The Pioneer of the Leather Industry in Lithuania, Hyim Frankel Narrated by his son, Jacob Frankel.
His Parents and Youth – Settling in Shauliai – The Rise of his Tannery – New Tanning Chemicals – Our Shoe Factory – Shauliai, a World Center of Leather – Our Agents – The Productivity of the Leather Plant – Our Customers – Relatives – At Home and in the World – The First World War and After.
Transcribed by Uriah Katzenelenbogen 941
    Jewish Artisans and Their Guilds in Lithuania Dr. Mark Wishnitzer 971
    Of Jewish Rural Occupations in Lithuania
Fishing and Inn-Keeping.
Hirsh Abramovitz 985
    Agriculture and Gardening Among Lithuanian Jews
1. A Glimpse of History and Statistics2. Large Land Holdings (Estates)3. Village and Peasant Agriculture4. Near–Urban Farming5. Near–Urban Gardens and Orchards6. Household Farms.
Engineer–Agronomist Jacob Rossein 997
    J. Kissin The Editors 1015
    Lithuania in Poetry and Prose J. Kissin 1019
    My Years in Kovno Abraham Reisen 1025
    Baal Machshovot (Dr I. Eljashev) S. Charney 1045
    A Year in the Lithuanian State (Reminiscences of a Wayfarer) Dr. A. Mukdoni 1071
    Yiddish Literary Achievements in Lithuania (A General Survey) N. I. Gotlieb 1099
    Hebrew Literary Buds in Lithuania Nathan Greenblat 1111
    Vilnius and Lithuania Baal Dimion (Nahum Shtiff) 1125
    Vilnius – Jerusalem of Lithuania Dr Mordecai Kossover 1131
    The Jewish Kaunas (Historical Outline) Ezekiel I. Berlson 1155
    The Dawn of the Socialist Movement in Kaunas Victor Shulman 1161
    Silhouettes of the Past Intelligentsia of Kaunas Leon Savage 1173
    Kaunas Osip Dymoff 1183
    Reminiscences of Kaunas
Childhood Years – Kaunas, A Religious Jewish City – Benevolent Associations – Associations for the World Beyond – The Revolutionary Era – The “Bund” in Kaunas.
Frank Epstein 1191
    From Pumpenai to Kaunas
PumpenaiPasvalysPanevezhysKeidan [Kedainiai]In Janova [Jonuva]in Shirvint [Shirvintai]In Tavrig [Taurage]In Kovno (Kaunas).
B. I. Byalostotzky 1203
    My First Journey Through Samogitia
My Desire to See Lithuania – Coachmen – Birzhai – Through Villages – Seeing Off Travelers to the U. S. A. and South Africa – The African Groom – A Glimpse at Pasvalys – Vashkai – Zheimelis – Kriukai – Shauliai – The “Directorius” Jonas – Gruzdzhiai – Papile.
Uriah Katzenelenbogen 1227
    Of My Visits to Lithuania Vladimir Grossmann 1251
    The First Strike of the Bristle Workers in Lithuania M. Ladsky 1259
    Vanished Worlds H. Smith 1263
    Three Times in Lithuania B. Z. Goldberg 1269
    Wilno, a Chapter in My Life Der Tunkeler 1279
    A Contrabandist of the Jewish Book Morris S. Sklarsky 1289
    My Two Visits to the Lithuanian State
First Visit – Second Visit – Pashvitinys – Linkuva – Vashkai – Shauliai.
Zivion (Dr. B. Hoffmann) 1293
    My Grandmother Hya Sarah Dr. I. N. Steinberg 1309
    The Elyashev Family of Kovno Dr. Shmuel Elyashiv (Fridman) 1313
    In Independent Lithuania in 1933 Daniel Charney 1323
    Of My Visit to Lithuania in 1938 Joseph Opatoshu 1327
    What Lithuania Signifies for Us (Reflections of the Past) J. Batnitzky 1331
    In Joy and in Grief Among Lithuanian Jews M. Mandelman 1333
    Rabbi Hirsh of Slobodka S. M. Sherman 1359
    Reb Hirsh Nevyazher Ben-Isaac 1363
    Rabbi Joseph Zechariah Shtern (What People Told of Him) A. Jerushalmi 1365
    Rabbi Herzl B. Shilman 1369
    Rabbi Shloime Dayon (Batnitzky) Dr. S. Melamed 1373
    Types of a Past Generation of Lithuania
Reb Itche of Baltushov – Reb Arele Shloime's – Reb Moishl of Vishtytis.
Dr. Mordecai Katz 1375
    Moishele the Author Dr. Z. Kadish 1383
    A Blessing by Chofetz-Chaim Abba Gordin 1385
    Khane the Shoemaker (Markus) Leib Nadel 1393
    Among the Halutzim in Lithuania
Introductory – The Centre – Labor – The Agricultural Cooperative “Kibush” (Conquest) – The District of the Cooperatives “Golil” (Galilee) – “To the Exile We Shall Not Return."
I. N. Gotlieb 1395
    The Jewish Panevezhys
Social Activities – The Old Mode of Living – The Rabbi of Panevezhys – Maskilim and Revolutionaries – Deputy of the Duma (Parliament of Russia).
Dr. Joseph A. Heller 1403
    Panevezhys in 1906 Alter Epstein 1413
    The Jewish Common Folk of Panevezhys M. Birman 1415
    Panevezhys After the First World War
The Market-Place and the Pharmacy – Synagogues – The Town Pump – Rabbinate – Karaites – Jewish Writers – People's Intelligentsia – Organizations and Institutions – Our Common Towns.
Selig Back 1419
    A Visit to Panevezhys in 1938 Meir Kimmel 1425
    Klaipeda (Memel) Dr. Samuel Greenhaus 1427
    The Town Kelme Rabbi Hyim Karlinsky 1437
    Palanga Yudel Mark 1453
    Kedainiai Sholem Datt 1475
    Alytus Dr. Martin Lichtenstein 1477
    A Short Visit to Alytus Alte Arsh-Sudarsky 1479
    My Town Dusetos (Types and Episodes)
This and That – The “Rebel” – Elijah Sarah-Mirra's – A Page of Gemara – Pinya The Dyer – Itzikl Business – Leibele “Nie Rush.”.
Mordecai Jaffe 1483
    Israel Matz The Editors 1497
    My Home Town, Kalvarija Israel Matz 1499
    My Town, Skuodas Leo Bernstein 1513
    Gargzhdai Isaac Goodman 1517
    Merkine Dr. Menahem G. Glenn 1519
IntroductoryCommon People“The Flirt”Horse TradersTypesJesters of Raguva.
Enoch Stein 1523
    Pilvishok [Pilviškiai] Dr. M. Z. Levinzon-Lubya 1533
    A Semester in Krekenava B. Shilman 1535
    My Town, Moletai Ben-Zion Riback 1539
    Obelial B. G. Zack 1543
    Towns of the Region of Vilnius M. S. 1547
    Glubokoje Alte A. S. 1551
    Ratnitza A. Zebulun Berebitches 1553
    Through Lithuania (Cities and Towns)
MariampoleVilkavishkis by Berl London – TelshaiRaseiniai by N. Ben-Chaim – UtenaJonuva by Peisach Janever – TaurageBirzhai by I. R. – Kedainiai by Ben-Alexander – Mazheikiai by Josephus – Rokishkis by Yudel Gapanovitch – Plunge by N. Rill – JurbarkasLazdijai by I Dan – AnykshchiaiZarasaiKupishkisPrienaiZhagareKudirkos-Naumiestis by Z. Tumpovsky – PandelisSeredzhius by G-n – SetaBalbierishkisChekishkis by R. K. – GelvonaiPushalotasVeliuonaShiaulenai by Ben-Daniel – Onushkis by L. B. E. – Rudamynas by Daniel Riback – KuliaiTaujenai by A. Walt.
Dr. Mendel Sudarsky 1561
    Vishtytis Dr. Mendel Sudarsky 1627
    Virbalis Dr. Mendel Sudarsky 1633
    The Annihilation of the Jews in Vilnius Victor Shulman 1649
    “At the Vilnius Cemetery” Layzer Ran 1659
    Lithuanians and Jews During the Nazi Occupation Ona Shimaite 1661
    The Ghetto Library of Vilnius Dinah Abramovitz 1671
    Most Significant Moments in the Ghetto of Kaunas
1. From the Beginning of the War to the Inclusion in the Ghetto – 2. The Time of the “Aktionen” – 3. The So-Called “Quiet” Period – 4. Recurrent “Aktionen,” Exile to Estonia, The Liquidation.
Leib Garfunkel 1679
    The “Arbeit-Einsatz” (Forced Labor) in the Ghetto of Kaunas Agronomist Jacob Oleisky 1713
    Medical Aid in the Ghetto and in the Concentration Camp Dr. Aaron Percikovitz 1719
    A Day Behind Barbed Wires. Dr. S. Dolnitzky 1735
    Cultural Activities in the Ghetto of Kaunas Dr. Samuel Greenhaus 1743
    A Jewish Teen-Age Girl in the Concentration Camp (Katzet) Vera Elijashev 1757
    The Annihilated Family of Moishe Katz L. Odes 1763
    The Destruction of the Jews in the Ghetto of Shauliai and of the Adjacent Towns
The First Massacres – The Tanneries – The Jews Forced into the Ghetto – The “Aktionen” – Aerodrome – The Hospital – The Public School – The “Werkstuben” (Workhouses) – The Reduction of the Ghetto Area – The Turf-Decree – August 20, 1942 – The List of the 27 – The Winter-Camps – Working Places Outside of the Ghetto – The Abolishing of the Currency System – Camps of 1943 – The Gallows – Reopening of the School – - The “Kasernierung” (Transfer to Barracks) – Children “Aktion” – The Rescued Children – Change in the Ghetto Administration – Camp A. B. A. – Evacuation from the Camps – Evacuation from the Ghetto of Shauliai – Foreign Camps of Panevezhys and Jonishkis – Extermination of the Jews of Tytuvenai – The Perishing Jews of Telshiai and Adjacent Alsedzhiai, Vevirzhenai, Varnel, Zharenai, Tverai, Luoke, Navarenai, Plunge, Plateliai, Rietava – Why No Renstance? – Our Annihilation and the Lithuanian Attitude.
A. Jerushalmi 1767
    To the History of the Destruction of the Lithuanian Jewry
Introductory – How the Jews Were Tortured to Death in Panevzhys – Atrocious Killings of the Jews in Mariampole – The Perishing of the Jews in Garleva, Pakonys, Veiveriai, Mavruchiai and Other Communities Near Kaunas – A Lithuanian Professor Repents.
Joseph Gar 1833
    The Last Days of Kelme Rabbi Samuel Meir Karnovitz 1845
    The Destruction of Jurbarkas Zvi Levit 1849
    Simnas and Its Annihilation Zvi Levit 1853
    Devastation of the Jews of Pasvalys and of Nearby Jewish Communities of Jonishkelis, Vashkai, Linkuva, Pumpenai, Salochiai and Vabalnikas B. Rainus 1859
    Skaudvile and Its Annihilation Rabbi Hyim Stein 1861
    The Devastation of the Jews of Kudirkos-Naumiestis Dr. L. Goldstein 1865
    The Destruction of Gargzhdai *~* 1867
    Annihilation of the Jews of Aukshtadvaris and of Trakai, Onushkis, Valkenikai, Rudishikis, Leipunai and Lantvaris Jacob Sapirstein 1869
    Annihilation of the Jews of Alsedzhiai Transcribed by A. Jerushalmi David Factor 1881
    Annihilation of the Jews of Vyzhuonis Rabbi Shabbethai Katz 1885
    In the Woods (Leaves of a Diary) Berl Kagan 1887
    Partisans of the Ghetto of Slabodka Chaint Meiserovitch 1907
    Lithuanian Jews Among the Jewish Survivors in Germany Marion Gide 1919
    The Bibliography of the Literature on the Annihilation of the Lithuanian Jewry
1. Books and Articles of General Content – 2. Vilnius – 3. Kaunas – 4. Cities and Communities of Lithuania and its Neighboring Border Regions – 5. Resistance and the Partisan Movement – 6. Works of Literature and Folk-lore.
Dr. Philip Friedman 1923
    Index of Personalities   1941
    Index to Places Mentioned   1977
    Sponsors of the Book “Lite” (Lithuania)   1989
    Partial Contents of Volume Two “Lite” (Lithuania)   2001


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