Proposal
Goniadz, Poland Yizkor Book

Project Name. Translation of Goniadz, Poland Yizkor Book

Project Leader
Suzanne Scheraga


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

Project Synopsis

Goniadz existed in the 13th Century. Because of its geographic location as a link by land and water among Poland, Lithuania, and Prussia, it played an important strategic and economic role and for a long time was a battleground between the Crusaders and the Polish Gentry. After 1597 Jews were allowed to settle there. In 1847 the Jewish population of 1337 comprised 65% of the total of 2,050. After World War I, 1135 Jews accounted for 43% of the total population of 2,642. Few of the town's Jewish residents survived World War II.

In 1960, former residents of Goniadz published a 420-page, 840-column yizkor book: Sefer yizkor Goniadz (“Our hometown Goniondz”), Editor J. Ben-Meir (Treshansky), Tel-Aviv, The Committee of Goniondz Association in the USA and in Israel, 1960 (H,Y,E). About 240 pages have been translated by volunteers, and are now online at http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/goniadz/Goniadz.html. The translation includes lists of families that perished, a list of persons who survived WWII, a list of contributors to the yizkor book fund, and an index of illustrations. JewishGen requires the services of a professional translator to complete the translation of the remaining pages.

In 1965, former residents of Goniadz living in Israel published a 57 page yizkor book: In memory of the life and destruction of the Jewish community of Goniadz (“Zekher le-hayeha ve-hurbanah shel k.k. Goniadz”), Editor Nehama Artziel, “Atid” School, Ramat Gan 1965. JewishGen requires the services of a professional translator.

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.

The Nazis entered Goniadz on June 26, 1941 and the reign of terror began by them and the cooperative Poles. Few of the Jewish population survived, but those who did have written the harrowing accounts of the Holocaust in the yizkor book. Many residents perished in the camp of Bogushe; others were sent to Treblinka and Auschwitz, where they perished. Current Polish inhabitants are rediscovering the Jewish history of the town. Local and Israeli students are cooperating on a project to restore the local Jewish cemetery. The translation of the yizkor book provides an additional bridge of understanding by depicting life as it once was in the town of Goniadz.

Project Description

Approximately 180 pages remain in Sefer Yizkor Goniadz to be translated and put online at http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/goniadz/Goniadz.html. To accomplish that 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.

The 57 page book In memory of the life and destruction of the Jewish community of Goniadz to be translated and put online.

Estimated Cost. $6750


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Updated 15 Apr 2014 by LA