Robert van Voren (1959) is a Sovietologist who currently teaches political science at the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, and the Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia. He is also Chief Executive of Global Initiative on Psychiatry. Van Voren has written extensively on Soviet issues, the Second World War, and mental health and human rights. Rodopi previously published On Dissidents and Madness (2009) and Cold War in Psychiatry (2010).
"Undigested Past is a metaphor for the main theme, contemporary Lithuania’s unwillingness to acknowledge fully and honestly a disturbing feature of its recent history, the Holocaust. In a concise yet comprehensive narrative, Robert van Voren, of Dutch origin and Lithuanian citizenship, critically examines the Lithuanian role in the slaughter and admonishes the country for its reluctance to address this troubling matter head-on." – in: European History Quarterly 44/3
"This is a most honest, balanced and tactful attempt to promote self-reflection and self-understanding in two nations involved in a brutal genocide. If you are a Lithuanian or a Jew, after reading this book you have no other choice but to redefine your personal identity in order to answer the questions: What does it mean to be a Lithuanian? What does it mean to be a Lithuanian Jew? I thought I knew the answers, but I was wrong." – Levas Kovarskis, psychoanalyst
"As Lithuanians, we need to face the deep and painful reflections of the events highlighted in this remarkable book. A great deal of work is needed on both sides to restore trust between Jews and Lithuanians and, for those not afraid to do so, reading this book is a very good first step." – Danius Puras, psychiatrist
"Despite the multitude of available works on the Holocaust, this admirably concise, yet detailed, volume will be an eye-opener for many - probably most - of its readers. Particularly valuable is its comparative (not contrastive) survey of the behavior of many in Lithuania and The Netherlands during and after the Second World War. In no sense is this book 'anti-Lithuanian', for, as the author well realizes, it was not only the Jews in that country who suffered terribly under Nazi and Soviet occupation. This monograph deserves a very wide readership, especially in Lithuania." – Martin Dewhirst, University of Glasgow, Scotland
Table of contents
Foreword by Leonidas Donskis
Lithuanian Historical Background
Origins of Anti-Semitism
Jewish Life in Lithuania between World Wars
The Holocaust in Lithuania
Issues of Compliance and Collaboration
The Human Dimension
Why Did it Happen?
From Black and White to Shades of Grey
About the Author