We Want To Live

On the arduous journey of Jewish martyrs across Lithuania,
Latvia, Byelorussia, Poland, Germany, and distant seas to a
new life, to the Land of Israel

by Jacob Rassen



Project Coordinator

Joshua H. Rassen


Our sincere appreciation to Joshua H. Rassen for permission
to put his late father's book on the JewishGen web site.

We also wish to thank Larry Freund for his
invaluable assistance in obtaining text scans of this book.


This is: “We Want To Live” by Jacob Rassen; Published by the family of J. Rassen, 2007 (E 245 pages)

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On my re-reading of some of the text, I think Jacob's book may differ from other accounts.

Jacob had an intuitive sense of the people around him as individuals. This was a large part of how he survived.

He was well educated, with a masters degree in agronomy, He had been a Lithuanian agricultural official, and had started an ORT school in an early kibbutz in Palestine. He brought a maturity to his perspective. He spoke at least seven languages.

I find his account of the partisan days chilling for what he decides he will not tell you, unless you are also a partisan operative and need to know.

He made basic furniture for the ghetto residents by day. At night, he wrote, and read out loud, the poems that appear in the book, as a comfort to his companions, and to himself.

While this book was sent to libraries when it was published in Yiddish and later in English, you have now made the book far more accessible.

Joshua H. Rassen




Chapter   Page
  Introductory pages  
1 On The Bloody Roads of Lithuania, Latvia, and Byelorusia 15
2 In The Ghetto of Dvinsk With Latvian and Lithuanian Jews 27
3 The Slaughter March 39
4 A Transport of “Last Jews” 59
5 In Kaiserwald, Near Riga, In Hell 69
6 Dragged and Condemned to Death 87
7 We Run Away to Freedom in the Woods 110
8 We Want to Live, Take Revenge -We Run Away Again 128
9 In the Woods and Swamps, Pursued Like an Animal 150
10 With Russian and Jewish Partisans in Revenge Warfare 164
11 After the Destruction, Back Again in the Old Home 180
12 On New Roads to a New Life 216


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