The Book Smugglers
Chair: James Libson
In a history book that reads like a thriller, The Book Smugglers charts the incredible story of the ghetto inmates who rescued thousands of rare books and manuscripts — first from the Nazis and then from the Soviets — by hiding them on their bodies, burying them in bunkers, and smuggling them across borders. In doing so, this daring group of poets turned partisans, and scholars turned smugglers, saved the treasures of Vilna, ‘the Jerusalem of Lithuania’.
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Sponsored by the National Library of Israel
David E. Fishman teaches history at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. His involvement with the story recounted in The Book Smugglers began twenty-five years ago, when he was invited to consult on items discovered in a former church in Vilnius. He is the author of four scholarly monographs and one textbook.
James Libson is a partner at Mishcon de Reya, solicitors, where he has been for 27 years. He has acted in many high profile cases including for Deborah Lipstadt in her case against David Irving, Gina Miller in her challenge to the government over Article 50, and most recently on behalf of Margaret Hodge MP resisting her expulsion from the Labour Party. He chaired World Jewish Relief from 2011-16 and currently chairs Prism, the Gift Fund. He has an Honorary Ph.D. from the University of Law.