Librarian of Jewish life, Dina Abramowicz

Rogow recalled how Abramowicz, known for her prodigious memory, would call him excitedly when a new book or journal arrived on her desk.

Abramowicz was a scholar who spoke four languages — Russian, Yiddish, Polish and English — fluently. The most recent of her numerous studies, biographies and book reviews was "Guardians of a Tragic Heritage," a speech in which she recounted her wartime experiences as a librarian in the Vilna Ghetto.

Abramowicz was born in 1909 in a prominent Lithuanian Jewish family that was active in the Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment.

During the war, Abramowicz worked as a librarian in the Vilna Ghetto Library. After the ghetto was liquidated, she escaped from a deportation train and fought in the Resistance.

In 1946, when she immigrated to the United States.

Abramowicz joined YIVO in 1947. In 1962, she was named head librarian at YIVO, a library and archive of Jewish life in Eastern Europe, overseeing the library's acquisition of major collections. In 1987, she became the institute's research librarian.

"Her work was everything. Even when she was ill, she would come to the library. When she worked here, she was another person," Rogow said.