Rolnikayte, Maria Grigorievna, a Lithuanian Ann Frank, was born in 1927. At the age of 13, in 1941, she became a prisoner of Vilnius Ghetto where all her relatives perished. Later on, she was imprisoned at Strassenhoff and Stuthoff concentration camps. She took part in the anti-Nazi underground movement by writing a “Strassenhoff Anthem” in Yiddish that became a combat song of the ghetto resistance. Risking being killed, she was writing a diary describing her everyday life in the concentration camp. During the three years of her imprisonment, she was hiding the diary in her sleeve.
Her heroic deed could be compared only with that of Ann Frank. After the war, Maria graduated at Correspondence Department of Gorky Literary Institute. She lived in Lithuania, wrote and published her works in Lithuanian and Yiddish languages. The book “I Must Tell” about her experience in the ghetto was published in Lithuanian in 1963 and later in Russian. The first edition was published in “Zvezda” journal, in 1965.
Today, Maria Grigorievna Rolnikayte is 87. There is no documentary film in which she tells her story personally.
Eastern European Counseling Center thinks that it’s very important to hear the story of this heroic survival told by Maria Grigorievna herself. We are now raising funds to support a volunteer enthusiastic crew – a producer, screen writer, and a photographer that are working on this project. The cost of the project is $15,000. So far $4,500 was raised. Please support our efforts by going to www.easterneuropeancounseling.org and donating funds.