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A Guest at the Shooters Banuet

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Rita Gabis comes from a family of Eastern European Jews and Lithuanian Catholics She was close to her Catholic grandfather as a child and knew one version of his past prior to immigration he had fought the Russians whose brutal occupation of Lithuania destroyed thousands of lives before Hitler's army swept inFive years ago Gabis discovered an unthinkable dimension to her family story f. I was waiting for a long time to receive this book from the library Now I can't wait to return it I did not finish it It's way too long I read about one hundred thirty pages and called it uits Yes it's lyrical the author is a poet but after a while that became tedious and there's too much extraneous information It would have been helpful if the author had a key for the pronunciation of the Lithuanian language and I found this lack off putting Hey! Its Your Attitude Teacher Manual years ago Gabis discovered an unthinkable dimension to her family story f. I was waiting for a long time to receive this book from the library Now I can't wait to return it I did not finish it It's way too long I read about one hundred thirty pages and called it uits Yes it's lyrical the author is a poet but after a while that became tedious and there's too much extraneous information It would have been helpful if the author had a key for the pronunciation of the Lithuanian language and I found this lack off putting

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Ad doneBuilt around dramatic interviews in four countries filled with original scholarship and mesmerizing in its lyricism A Guest at the Shooters' Banuet is a history and family memoir like no other documenting the holocaust by bullets with a remarkable uest as Gabis returns again and again to the country of her grandfather's birth to learn all she can about the man she thought she kn. This book ah this book A tiny slice of WWII and the slaughter of the Jewish population Not by the Germans but by the Lithuanians who exterminated the entire Jewish population of their Country and a substantial portion of the Polish citizens Written by a descendent of a Lithuanian war criminal the book outlines her research her heartbreak and casts another light on who the real criminals are and why

Rita Gabis é 5 review

Rom 1941 to 1943 her grandfather had been the chief of security police under the Gestapo in the Lithuanian town of Svencionys near the killing field of Poligon where eight thousand Jews were murdered over three days in the fall of 1941 In 1942 the local Polish population was also hunted down Gabis felt compelled to find out the complicated truth of who her grandfather was and what he h. A poet Gabis felt driven to research the dueling pasts of her ancestors one a beloved grandfather who had perhaps served as a member of the political police in wartime Lithuania As the book unfolds Gabis unflinchingly pursues the brutal realities of her father's complicity with the genocide of the Lithuanian jews especially at a place called Poligon Part of my life was spent with research and oral history That alone made this beautiful and terrifying book worth reading Her uestioning of moral responsibility for massacre is increased by her interviews with the victims of Shoah We destroy people when we hate and fear But we also destroy ourselves and the unborn who will live with our vileness Gabis suffers for her grandfather's sin All with a shred of empathy will suffer with her


10 thoughts on “A Guest at the Shooters Banuet

  1. says:

    I've often wondered what happened to the men who perpetrated mass murders during WW2 I'm not talking about the Hitlers the Eichmanns or the Hans Franks I'm referring to the men with the guns who murdered Jews and other undesirables in the killing pits of Eastern Europe And the men who dropped the Zyklon B tablets in the gas chambers and those who drove the sealed gas trucks killing the people inside These men who did the actual hands on killing It takes a certain mentality and amorality to kill others and as many historians have pointed out a lot of alcohol releases the inhibitions How did these men function when they returned to civilian life? So many were never caught or prosecuted after the war; they slipped through the cracks of justice and went unpunished for their deedsAmerican author Rita Gabis explores this subject personal to her in her ambitious book A Guest at the Shooters Banuet My Grandfather's SS Past My Jewish Family A Search for the Truth The Shooters' Banuet referred to in the title was an actual dinner with music and alcohol served in celebration of the murder of the thousands of Jews of a small Lithuanian town in the killing pits of Poligon The murderers were local Lithuanian Catholics who ate and drank in honor of their great deeds They also shot to death two local musicians who were performing for them because they spoke PolishThis topic is personal for Rita Gabis because her maternal grandfather was a police chief in the Lithuanian city of Svencionys He fled with his family after WW2 and ended up in the United States where he lived until his death Rita's mother married a Jewish man; I can't imagine her family approved As Rita grew up nothing was said in the family about her grandfather's duties in Svencionys It was not a topic anyone felt comfortable bringing up The grandfather was known as a loving family man and Rita's mother and aunts loved him But Rita began to wonder what her grandfather did in the war and whether he participated in the killings at Poligon and other murders during his tenure under the Nazis in their occupation of Lithuania About 15 years ago she started to look into his life and traveled to Lithuania and Israel and Poland in search of answers Answers she might not want to learnRita Gabis's book is a look at both the Catholic and Jewish life during WW2 Lithuania had had an uneasy past as the two religious groups coexisted in the same villages and cities In addition to tracing her mother's family she also follows three Lithuanian Jews who had survived the war Their stories of the casual cruelties and killings they were subjected to in both the ghettos and the camps were of course horrifying Their own random choices like jumping off a train going to another ghetto often saved their livesYou'll have to read Gabis's book to see if she found the answers to her uestions about her family and their past in Lithuania It's an ambitious work but extremely well written It doesn't uite answer my original uestion about whether these killers carry their deeds into the rest of their lives but it gives a hint


  2. says:

    I was waiting for a long time to receive this book from the library Now I can't wait to return it I did not finish it It's way too long I read about one hundred thirty pages and called it uits Yes it's lyrical the author is a poet but after a while that became tedious and there's too much extraneous information It would have been helpful if the author had a key for the pronunciation of the Lithuanian language and I found this lack off putting


  3. says:

    I was not impressed with this book during the first one third to half The focus seemed to be on the author her process somewhat irrelevant family details etc The writing style was also not what I am used to for non fiction The style is definitely organic literary in nature I may not have been used to the style at first or liked it even but I can say that it was very effective I believe the feel of this book if not all the specific facts will stay with me for some timeAround the middle of the book I became completely engrossed in the material especially the individual stories of the survivors she interviewed The details start rolling in around that point If you are struggling through the initial portions skip through a bit and I promise you won't regret it The story of the Lithuanian portion of WWII is not often told I was surprised to read that there was never really a formal process of indicting those involved with the Nazis in Lithuania as there was in other countries such as Poland This is not an easy book to read in a lot of respects and is extremely emotionally impactful I am glad I read it though


  4. says:

    Very powerful endeavor by the the author to determine if her grandfather was complicit in the killing of Jews and others during World War II in his native Lithuania It's an especially jarring project because of the fact that while her mother was a Catholic from that country her father was a Jew Where normally the tales of survivors are of those who were in the camps Ms Gabis' research takes her to those who mainly suffered through the war outside the camps We follow the first hand accounts of many of these survivors as their humanity was slowly taken away from them They were shuttled from one ghetto to another Sometimes they just missed being transferred to a location where their relatives were only to find out that every single person who had gone to that other location was killed We follow the young teenagers and adults who helped organize a resistance all the while with the fear that even another Jew may reveal to the authorities of what they doing Within Lithuania was the infamous Poligny where Jews were rounded up and the Germans who only set the process going and merely watched were aided in their bloodthirsty plans by the willing hands of the local population Local Lithuanians were the ones who coldly shot and killed thousands of Jews whose bodies tumbled in open pits in the forest After the shooters would have a meal and the name of the book is taken from that situation Was the author's grandfather responsible for the atrocities especially as he was the head of the security police under the Gestapo? And was he a witness to or even an organizer of the mass killing? The author repeatedly goes back to Lithuania to Poland to Israel She interviews many people both subjects of the killings and those that risked their lives to save others and it's painful to read of what people in that country went through There was a hierarchy in the country because Lithuania was once independent then the Russians took over and killed; then the local people thought the Germans would save them from the Russians but they were worse; then the Russians came back and it was worse still You read of the torture that was inflicted The author's grandmother after surviving the Germans was taken by the Russians and tortured the skin on her arms being ripped out with pliers Others young Jews were tortured horribly to reveal their plans of resistance but the Jews withstood their suffering so that others would be saved even though the torture included being buried alive It's a difficult book to read because it consists of stories of never ending cruelty Through it all the author keeps trying to find records that would reveal secrets of her grandfather that would show his innocence but all the evidence she uncovers shows just the opposite It's a must read book to give you a picture of the suffering that people went through a suffering whose effects never left them throughout not only their lives but the lives of the next generation


  5. says:

    A poet Gabis felt driven to research the dueling pasts of her ancestors one a beloved grandfather who had perhaps served as a member of the political police in wartime Lithuania As the book unfolds Gabis unflinchingly pursues the brutal realities of her father's complicity with the genocide of the Lithuanian jews especially at a place called Poligon Part of my life was spent with research and oral history That alone made this beautiful and terrifying book worth reading Her uestioning of moral responsibility for massacre is increased by her interviews with the victims of Shoah We destroy people when we hate and fear But we also destroy ourselves and the unborn who will live with our vileness Gabis suffers for her grandfather's sin All with a shred of empathy will suffer with her


  6. says:

    This was an investment to read but I'm glad I finished it The author is the child of a Jew and a Lithuanian immigrant whose father worked for the SS in wartime Lithuania The book is the author's attempt to determine just how guilty or not her grandfather was of the murders of Poles and Jews in his district during the war It rambles sometimes a lot but I think this is an expression of how the author experienced her long search I'm kind of glad too that it didn't come to conclusions that were too pat and perfect This would probably be tough going for people who aren't fascinated by the Holocaust


  7. says:

    This is an oddly unsatisfying book in ways that may in fact be exactly what the author intended We want closure from her uest to discover the truth about her grandfather's role in WWII genocide Her several years' uest for an accurate accounting of that time in Lithuania is really compelling and the picture that emerges of how partisans collaborators Lithuanians Poles Jews navigated the insanity of the war is wonderfully nuanced Most striking are the ways in which memory shapes interpretation and inevitably hides as much truth as it reveals There is no certainty at the end though strong suggestions and perhaps that's exactly right


  8. says:

    This book ah this book A tiny slice of WWII and the slaughter of the Jewish population Not by the Germans but by the Lithuanians who exterminated the entire Jewish population of their Country and a substantial portion of the Polish citizens Written by a descendent of a Lithuanian war criminal the book outlines her research her heartbreak and casts another light on who the real criminals are and why


  9. says:

    I was very excited to read this book because of the subject matter and the premise but I ended up very disappointed The book jumps around between many different subjects and it's hard to follow The content is very repetitive The author's narrative is weak and doesn't hold the story together


  10. says:

    Intriguing family mystery that got entirely derailed by the author's focus on her own dramatic monologue about every discovery which was far less interesting than her family's history