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The World Was Ours

The World Was Ours explores the vibrant and creative life of the Jewish community of Vilna (now Vilnius, Lithuania), from its founding in the early 14th century through the end of World War II. Drawing upon archival photos and footage, excerpts from diaries and letters, and interviews with Holocaust survivors and scholars, The World Was Ours evokes the spirit of this rich literary, intellectual and artistic community responsible for shaping many of the great ideologies of 20th century Jewish life. In 1941, German forces seized Vilna and set out to exterminate its Jewish population. During this time, Vilna Jews risked their lives to save precious books and documents marked for destruction by the Nazis. Locked in the ghetto, fully aware of their fate, they continued to present concerts, theater and art exhibitions. By the end of war, only five percent of the city’s Jewish population remained.