On Wednesday, November 20, the Lithuanian Jewish Community hosted the launch of a new book called the Gaon Code, a slightly dramatized retelling of Litvak history in Lithuania and abroad.
LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky introduced author Rytis Sabas and journalist and historian Rimvydas Valatka, who spoke about his media colleague and the skepticism he felt when Sabas told him he had written a book. That skepticism soon turned to enthusiasm as Valatka, who says he isn’t a literary critic, was drawn into story, which he called a thriller. Valatka played an interview he had conducted with Sabas for LNK television.
Rytis Sabas spoke briefly before presenting a slideshow on the overhead with diverse images of Jewish Lithuania. He then spoke about the book, saying it was 80% historical fact.
During questions Sabas said he had named the book Gaon Code intentionally with Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code in mind. He said he initially wanted to write a book which would be interesting to an international audience, but after he learned more about Litvak history, he realized Lithuanians needed to learn this part of their country’s own incredible history.
Photography by Dovilė Abromavičiutė