Proposal
Będzin, Poland Yizkor Book

Project Name. Translation of Będzin, Poland Yizkor Book

Project Leader
Lance Ackerfeld


JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager
Lance Ackerfeld
Fax: 1-909-259-7005

Project Synopsis

The yizkor book “A Memorial to the Jewish Community of Będzin” was published in 1959 in Hebrew and Yiddish. Certain sections of the book have already been translated and all the pictures from the book have been scanned and appear online at http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/bedzin/bedzin.html; however, considerable portions of the book still remain to be translated.

Key Audiences

Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots in this town constitute the primary audience for the material.  However, the material has the potential to be of broader interest to scholars specializing in Jewish history and society in this region.

Project Importance

Yizkor books are unique sources of information on once vibrant towns, primarily in central and eastern Europe, whose Jewish populations were destroyed in the Holocaust. Written after World War II by émigrés and Holocaust survivors, yizkor books contain narratives of the history of the town, details of daily life, religious and political figures and movements, religious and secular education, and gripping stories of the major intellectual and Zionist movements of the 20th century. The necrologies and lists of residents are of tremendous genealogical value, as often the names of individuals who were taken to extermination camps or shot in the forests are not recorded elsewhere. Usually written in Hebrew or Yiddish, these important books are not accessible to most users, who cannot read these languages. Thus, the translation of these books into English unlocks this information to many more researchers all over the world. The JewishGen Yizkor Book Project received the award in 2002 for outstanding contribution to Jewish genealogy by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

A Jewish settlement existed in Będzin from the beginning of the 17th century. The Jewish population in Bedzin was considerable and in 1931 numbered 21,625, 45.4% of the population.

The German army entered the town on September 4, 1939, and five days later they incinerated the Great Synagogue in the Old City. Several thousand Jews from the district were expelled and forced to reside in Będzin, among them all the Jews from Oswiecim (German name – Auschwitz), who arrived in April-May 1941, prior to the construction of the Auschwitz camp. In May 1942 the first deportation took place in which several thousand people were sent to their death in Auschwitz.

The Jewish underground resistance in Będzin concentrated mainly on preparations for armed resistance and deportees from Będzin played a major role in the underground and uprising in the Auschwitz death camp.

Although some Jewish survivors settled in Będzin after the war (in 1946 the Jewish population numbered 150 people), all of them left after some time.

Project Description

The book has 431 pages. Approximately 240 pages have been translated, leaving 191 pages to be translated. Apart from the translated sections that have been prepared, all the pictures and captions from the book as well as the necrology are presently online at http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/bedzin/bedzin.html.

To complete the translation, JewishGen will hire a professional translator. The project coordinator will select the order in which to translate the chapters and will work closely with the translator to ensure a grammatically correct and idiomatic translation. Specific tasks the project coordinator will perform include proofreading, editing, and preparing the work for submission to the Yizkor Book Project.

Estimated Cost.

It is estimated that $5,730 (direct costs only) will be needed to complete the translation.


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Updated 22 Sep 2009 by LA