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About the Author

Sara Manobla was born Ursula Sara Towb in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Her grandfather David Towb immigrated to Britain from Zagare in 1890. After receiving her BA (Honors) from Durham University, she joined the BBC s World Service as producer of foreign language radio broadcasts. After her first visit to Israel in 1960, she made aliyah and settled in Jerusalem. She married Eli Manobla, a Jerusalem-born architect and artist, and they had three children. She continued her broadcasting career as head of Israel Radio s English Department. With her family, she spent two years in Vancouver, Canada, as director of the Canadian Zionist Federation s Pacific Region office. She was editor of the magazine Panim, a monthly survey of the arts scene in Israel, published by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She contributes travel articles to the Jerusalem Post and does freelance translating and editing. Her chief passions in life apart from her family are travel and music. She is a composer as well as a proficient musician, playing piano, cello and flute in amateur chamber groups and orchestras.


"Growing up, Manobla was unaware that she came from Lithuanian stock. It was only through her non-Jewish cousins, Joy and Suki, the youngest of her grandfathers 13 grandchildren, that Manobla discovered her Lithuanian family roots and more importantly, the shtetl of Zagare on the border between Lithuania and Latvia, from which her family stems. In 1941, the Zagare Jewish community was slaughtered by the Nazis, aided by Lithuanian collaborators. Fortunately, Manoblas family had left long before the war, but she was nonetheless drawn to Zagare. The book is largely devoted to how she and other descendants of former residents of Zagare traveled back in time and discovered not only Zagare, but themselves." - Jerusalem Post March 2014
"Zagare: Litvaks and Lithuanians Confront the Past is an elegantly written account of Manoblas personal discovery of her familys Litvak past, the legacy of a destroyed Jewish community and its message for Lithuanians. A superb storyteller, Manobla draws the reader in brilliantly as she herself transforms from someone disconnected with her past into a kind of Jewish Sherlock Holmes, uncovering the horrors of the Holocaust and the heroism of a few families while harboring a sense of hope for the future." - Jerusalem Post, March 2014. Click the link to see the double-page article featuring several photos.
"Zagare Litvaks and Lithuanians Confront the Past" is an elegantly written account of the author's personal discovery of her family's Litvak past, the legacy of a destroyed Jewish community and its message for Lithuanians. A superb storyteller, Manobla draws the reader in brilliantly as she herself transforms from someone disconnected with her past into a kind of Jewish Sherlock Holmes, uncovering the horror of the Holocaust and the heroism of a few families while harboring a sense of hope for the future. Zagare is a book that should be read not only by Litvaks and Lithuanians, but by anyone interested in the history, present and future of the relationship between Lithuania, Israel and the Jewish people. STEVE LINDE (Editor in chief, Jerusalem Post, Weekend Magazine)
"The call of ancestral voices drew British-born Sara Manobla from her home in Israel to the Lithuanian country town of Zagare, where a long-established shtetl community met its end in 1941, massacred in the town square and nearby forests. Seven decades later, her mission was the erection of a memorial in that once blood-soaked square. Although local collaborators had joined in the Nazi killing, she rejected "thoughts of revenge or a settling of accounts" in favour of "accepting, acknowledging, remembering and educating." At the memorial's unveiling ceremony, attended by the President of Lithuania, she did not back away from the sensitive issue of local collaboration, but went on to pay tribute to the heroic few who risked their lives to save their Jewish neighbours. Thanks in no small way to her efforts, Yad Vashem has honoured them as Righteous among the Nations. Manobla's book chronicles her journey from initial genealogical curiosity to a healing conclusion in which the whole town participated. Writing in a spirit of reconciliation, she brings much-needed light to the darkness of the past. Zagare has hope at its heart. It is an uplifting story." THEO RICHMOND (Author "Konin a quest")
"I read it through with great pleasure and admiration. A page-turner! The story of how Lithuanians and Jewish descendants of Zagare worked together to honor the murdered Jews and remember the rescuers is heart-warming." ELLEN CASSEDY (Author "We Are Here")
"I have just finished this wonderful book. Although not a Zagarean, I was moved to tears, especially in the last chapter of the insight and understanding. I read it almost holding my breath, although clearly knowing the outcome in general. Beautifully written, with passion and felicity. And that's not for an official comment-- just my own feelings and knowledge of how close I am to the issue after looking at my own family's past. The author is a historian who doesn't easily give up the fight to get to the truth. And yes, now's the time for latkes and tzimmes." ZVI PANTANOVITZ, (Broadcaster, Kol Israel)
"The basic theme running through Sara Manoblas compelling new book, Zagare: Litvaks and Lithuanians Confront the Past, is coming to terms with history on a personal level in Manoblas case, and in respect of a whole town, where Zagare itself is concerned. As we accompany her along her twin paths of discovery, we find the two strands merging and becoming one. Lithuania, its chequered past during the Nazi and subsequent Soviet domination of the Baltic, and its difficulty in accepting and dealing with the involvement of its citizens in the Holocaust, provides the background. In Zagare, Manobla takes her readers by the hand and leads them, by way of her personal testimony, into the fascinating story of how at least one Lithuanian town made a positive effort to reconcile itself to its own history. At the same time she reveals how she discovered and, in a sense, came to accept her own roots. It makes for a captivating, engrossing read." NEVILLE TELLER (Author, Jerusalem Post online columnist, BBC writer)
The book is very readable, and some wonderful photos of people and places in Zagare are included. (the book) would make a great introduction to Lithuanian history for people new to the subject and also for anyone interested in issues of reconciliation and acceptance.. - Jessica Feinstein

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