Community of Korets Yizkor Book
Dr. Jeffrey Mark Paull
JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager Lance Ackerfeld
Korets (50°37' / 27°10') is a town in the Rivne Oblast in Ukraine. The town is located on the Korchyk river, 66 kilometers (41 miles) to the east of Rivne, 61 kilometers (38 miles) northwest of Polonne, 41 kilometers (26 miles) northeast of Slavuta, and 56 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Ostroh. It is the administrative center of the Korets Raion. As of 2001, the population of Korets was 8,649.
Korets was home to an ancient Jewish community. It is not far from Medzhybizh, the ancestral home of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chassidism. Rabbi Pinchas of Korets was a member of the Baal Shem Tov's inner circle, and he was entrusted with the care and upbringing of the Baal Shem Tov's son. According to legend, the Baal Shem Tov once said of Rabbi Pinchas, A soul such as his comes along only once every 500 years. Rabbi Pinchas was a descendant of the illustrious Shapiro rabbinical lineage, which traces its ancestry back to Rashi, and from which many Ashkenazi Jews trace their descent.
The Korets Yizkor book was edited by Elieser Leoni, and published in Tel Aviv in 1959. It contains major sections on the Early History of Korets, Memories and Ways of Life, Education and Art, Economy, Institutions and Organizations, The Zionist Movement and the Youth Movements, Rabbis and Poets (including a chapter on Rabbi Pinchas of Korets), Figures and Personalities, The Holocaust, Korets after Destruction, and the Names of the Korets Jews who Perished in the Holocaust. The book also contains many photos and illustrations, and an index of names.
Translated portions of the book are currently available online at the following link: http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Korets/Korets.html
The book in its original Hebrew format is available online at the New York Public Library at: http://yizkor.nypl.org/index.php?id=1192
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 Yiddish, Hebrew, or both, yizkor books are not accessible to a wider audience. Thus, the translation of these books into English unlocks this information to many more researchers all over the world. In 2002, the JewishGen Yizkor Book Project received the award for outstanding contribution to Jewish genealogy by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.
Currently, there is little information available to the English-speaking world regarding the historical Jewish community of Korets. With the destruction of the Jewish community of Korets, the information in this yizkor book constitutes a significant portion of its documented history, and undoubtedly contains information that is not available anyplace else. This project will result in the creation of the primary English language source of information for anyone doing research on Korets and its Jewish community.
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Updated 1 Oct 2012 by LA