What’s New?


The Revenge of the Secretaries

The BBC interviewed me and Karen Nussbaum about how 9 to 5, the working women’s organization we helped to found, not only inspired a box office hit and Dolly Parton’s timeless anthem, but also changed women’s lives in offices across America.



Wexler Oral History: How I Found Yiddish

The Yiddish Book Center interviewed me for the Wexler Oral History project.  I talk about how I connected to Yiddish and how the language continues to be a precious and sustaining part of my life.  Hert zikh tsu!  Listen in!




anne frank

Best Books on Hope and Understanding after the Holocaust

Five books I recommend, featuring the heroic woman

who helped Anne Frank, a Holocaust survivor urging forgiveness, a brilliant historic account of the Nazi and Soviet eras, and two thought-provoking books by women who explore the Eastern European birthplaces of their forebears.




“The rhythm and rhyme had to leap off the page”

How did A.A. Milne and Robert Louis Stevenson guide my translations of Yiddish children’s poems about bears and elephants and pillows and horsies?  Jessica Kirzane interviews me for In Geveb about translating children’s poetry.




“Young Vilna” choral piece

Composer Jessica Krash sets to music the questions that young Lithuanians asked me during my book tour for We Are Here. The Wall Street Journal calls her piece “tense and hauntingly beautiful.” Listen here.  And take a look at the trailer.



Ellen Cassedy 2 (truly cropped)NOVA Science Show: Holocaust Escape Tunnel

Archaeologists probe a Nazi execution site to uncover the secrets of a hidden escape tunnel.  I speak in the show about the history behind the tunnel. View it here.




Ellen and Fania at RudnikiMy Yiddish Month

Why study Yiddish?  To touch the lives of our ancestors. To honor ordinary people. To learn the language of passionate debates and fiery speeches in the struggle for a better world. Read my article in Na’amat Magazine.




holocaust-memorial-rokiskisHolocaust Remembrance in Lithuania

75 years after the Holocaust, Lithuania engages with a painful history.  Read my article in Bridges, the Lithuanian-American News Journal.





National Geographic says: 

Vilnius is the #1 winter trip destination — and We Are Here is the book to read before you go!





On the Borderland

The Borderland Foundation pioneers cross-cultural activities at the spot where Poland and Lithuania meet and multiple traditions coexist. Read my article in The Forward.




jewish-women-in-lithuaniaKeeping the Faith

Three wonderful women in Vilnius are keeping their faith and sharing it with others. Read my article in Hadassah Magazine.




Suzanne Toren Ellen Cassedy we are here lithuanian holocaustAudiobook 

The magnificent Suzanne Toren, one of the country’s leading audiobook narrators, narrates my new audiobook, available here.  A  review in Bay State Reader’s Advisory calls it “a very well produced audiobook with an excellent narrator..”  And: “It was great to hear how all of the Yiddish words in the book actually sound.”


Good Morning! Gut morgn!

Lively poems for children by Boris Sandler, the former editor of the Yiddish newspaper Forverts, appear in this new book in Yiddish and English, with artwork by a talented young artist from Birobidzhan.  I did the English translations. Find the book here.



yiddish-zoo-bookWhat goes on in a Yiddish zoo?

Klezmer bears, lazy hippos, proud peacocks and loud parrots can all be admired in Yiddish Zoo, a splendid new children’s book for which I did the English translations.

lithuanian-rescuerHolocaust Remembrance Day: A New Generation of Rescuers?

Lithuanians have the opportunity to become a new generation of rescuers – rescuers of their nation’s memory, rescuers of moral conscience. Read my essay in Huffington Post. Read it in Lithuanian here, in Bernardinai.lt.


jewish-names-lithuaniaRemembering Names in Lithuania

On the anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto, Lithuanians find a personal way to remember Jews and Jewish heritage. Read my essay in Huffington Post.  


vilna ghetto library

Facing History in Lithuania

My essay in Na’amat Woman reflects on Lithuania’s encounter with its Jewish heritage. Will the people of this country take Holocaust remembrance seriously and dedicate themselves to ensuring that such a tragedy cannot happen again?

walkercrop[TIPS OF THE TRADE:] Stuck?  Go for a walk! https://ellencassedy.com/wp-content/uploads/Stuck.pdf

New research shows that walking boosts creative thinking.


Bread and Jam on Holocaust Memorial Day

During the Lithuanian Holocaust, the penalty for hiding Jews was death.  Nonetheless, Jurate’s family extended a helping hand to mine.  Read my article in Huffington Post. Read it in Lithuanian here.


Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook

At the Vilnius Yiddish Institute Summer Program, students shared recipes — in Yiddish — from the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook, beautifully translated and updated by Eve Jochnowitz.  Read my article in Hadassah Magazine.


More News:

My translation of luminous short stories by Yenta Mash won a PEN/Heim grant — the first ever awarded to a translation from Yiddish.  I worked on the translation as a translation fellow at the Yiddish Book Center.

“We Are Here” was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing announced by Stanford University Libraries.

I was honored to receive a Best Book Prize from the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies.

We Are Here is now in its third printing. Help spread the word!  Please share your comments on Amazon and/or Goodreads, and ask for the book at your local library.


Great Women of Yiddish Poetry
Jewish Currents
Two wonderful books explore the work of Jewish women poets.

For Yom HaShoah: Reaching Out to “The Other”
Huffington Post
Talking about the Holocaust with a group of nuns in Lithuania gave me hope for the future.

We Were Neighbors: Women of 19th-Century Lithuania
In the days of our foremothers, women of different cultures lived side by side in relative harmony.

New Life for an Old Library: Report from the Vilna Ghetto
Association for Jewish Libraries News, pages 3-5
If a determined group of Lithuanians achieve their goal, an old library in Vilnius may have a new future.

Out of the Vilna Ghetto:  Dust – and Determination
Huffington Post
“Young Lithuanians cleaning up the old Vilna ghetto library are hoping that, in time, a building that once offered a wider world to trapped ghetto residents will become a place that opens minds and hearts.”

Honoring Lithuania’s Jewish Heritage,
Bridges Lithuanian-American News Journal, July/August 2014

My article, For Yom HaShoah: A Search for Bones in Lithuania, appears on Huffington Post.  “They have not yet found the bones, and perhaps they never will. But by joining together to look, they are doing something very important.”  Delfi.lt ran the article in Lithuanian: Palaikų paieškos Rokiškyje.

“Lithuanian High School Covered with Butterflies”, my account of Holocaust education at a high school in the town of Kedainiai, appeared in Lithuanian in the Chicago paper “Draugas” and on 15min.lt.

Can Vilnius Remember Vilna?
Huffington Post
On the 70th anniversary of the ghetto liquidation, who will remember, and how?

A Summer at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute (in Yiddish!)
Afn Shvel
In the magazine of the League for Yiddish, my essay about studying Yiddish in Vilnius. It was a mekhaye — a joy!

I Am Here!
Na’amat Woman Magazine
A Jewish woman’s journey to Lithuania gives her a new perspective on the Holocaust and today’s world. “I wanted to judge, once and for all, but my visit to the Old World changed me.”

My translation of “A Single Oy,” from Levi Shalit’s eloquent memoir of the Shavl ghetto in Lithuania, is included in the new “Anthology of Newly Translated Yiddish Works” published by the Yiddish Book Center.  “All the way to the German border, people pressed toward the doors. Everyone wanted to gaze out at the countryside, to catch one last glimpse…”

Interviews & Features

“Across Divides: Ellen Cassedy and the Art of Cross-Cultural Communication”
An interview by Yermiyahu Ahron Taub
Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews, February-March 2014

Deborah Kalb interviews Ellen Cassedy
A lead-up to Temple Sinai’s Author Roundtable, Washington, DC, April 27, 2013.  For more information, click here.

Ramune Kubilius talks with Ellen about Lithuania and the Holocaust
November 17, 2012, Draugas (in Lithuanian)

Author’s Notebook | Ellen Cassedy
April 19, 2012, The Whole Megillah
Can we honor the memory of the Holocaust without perpetuating the hatreds of the past?

More Interviews & Features 

More Articles

“On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Questions for the Holocaust Museum”
Huffington Post. To prevent genocide, we must do more than appeal to individual conscience. We must also nurture habits of civic and social activism.

Remembering the Holocaust in Lithuania
April 2013, The Jewish Magazine
Education and commemoration in a country struggling with a horrific past.

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Vol. 25, November 2012
edited by Sarunas Liekis, Antony Polonsky & ChaeRan Freeze
Contains Ellen’s essay,“To Transform Ourselves: Lithuania Looks at the Holocaust.”

Samuel Bak: Painter of the Vilna Ghetto
October 2012, VilNews
Holocaust survivor is from Vilna, of Vilna – and so is his abundant body of work.

Visiting Vilna
August 2012, The Jewish Magazine
Cross-cultural dialogue in the former Jerusalem of the North

Yom HaShoah Reflections on Eva Hoffman’s AFTER SUCH KNOWLEDGE
April 18, 2012, My Machberet
“I found myself inspired by the educators, activists, and ordinary citizens I met.”

Remembering the Holocaust – With Steponas
April 17, 2012, Huffington Post
“On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, I will remember the six million who perished — and I’ll also remember a man I met in Lithuania, a man I’ll call Steponas.”

What Lithuania can teach us about dealing with the Holocaust
April 12, 2012, Haaretz
“The restitution initiative is welcome. Symbolically, it serves to underscore Lithuania’s moral burden. Practically, it will support Jewish life.”

Even More Articles