God's Sabbatical Years
The Story of Alan Weiler

Published by the JewishGen Press
part of Yizkor Books Project of JewishGen, Inc.

By Peter Harris
Hard Cover, 11” by 8.5”, 234 pages with illustrations.

Available from JewishGen for $32.00

Click here to see the index containing the family names in this book. If you already have purchased the book, please print out and insert into the back of the book.


This Holocaust memoir was written over 40 years ago, with only three typed copies produced. One surviving copy was being donated to the Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide in London, when the archivist remarked to the author Peter Harris, that the books deserves to be published. So now this long forgotten important first-hand account of the horrors of the Shoah appears in print and are available to the public.

As a boy, Alan Weiler lived in Vilna, Lithuania, a city famed for its Jewish learning. A promising student, Alan planned to attend the city's university and become a doctor. In 1941, when he was 13, Germans captured the city. The tried to flee, but were captured and brought back. Gangs began to roam the streets hunting Jews for bounty, dragging them to prison or massacre. Alan and his family were stripped of their belongings and sent to the Vilna Ghetto, where many starved or died. The Ghetto was itself only a stop on the way to a succession of concentration camps, where the only alternatives were slave labor or slaughter. Yet through a combination of guile, linguistic ability, and luck, Alan survived.

During the Holocaust, about 95 percent of Lithuania's quarter-million Jewish population was murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. In telling his story to journalist Peter Harris, Weiler said it should be called God's Sabbatical Years, contending that “if there is a God in Heaven, he must have been on holiday” during those long years of suffering.

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