Julija Šukys carefully collected, preserved, and archived the written record of the life of Ona Šimaitė, which included thousands of letters and scores of diaries. Šimaitė, a librarian at Vilnius University, used her position to aid and rescue Jews in the Vilna Ghetto. Epistolophilia brings back to life this quiet and unassuming heroine who was a giant of Holocaust history, one of Yad Vashem's honored Righteous Among the Nations, and yet is so little known.
Julija Šukys (PhD 2001, Univeristy of Toronto) is the author of two books, Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Šimaitė (Nebraska 2012) and Silence is Death: The Life and Work of Tahar Djaout (Nebraska, 2007). She has held fellowships with the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada at Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois), the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem (Jerusalem), the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City, and has been a fellow at the Banff Centre’s Literary Journalism Program. Her honors include writers’ grants from the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec and the Canada Council for the Arts. Epistolophilia has been shortlisted for the 2012 Mavis Gallant Prize in Nonfiction.