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Translation of Siedlce Memoir Book

(Siedlce, Poland)

 

Project Leader: Michael Halber
JewishGen Liason/Advisor: Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

This project is being initiated to fund the translation of Oyf di khurves fun mayn heym (khurbn Shedlets) [On the Ruins of My Home; The Destruction of Siedlce] by Melech Fainzilber, from Yiddish into English.

The town of Siedlce is in Warsaw province in central-eastern Poland, about 55 miles east of Warsaw. A Jewish presence in Siedlce is attested since the mid-16th century. Just prior to World War II, it had a Jewish population of around 15,000. About 10,000 Jews were deported to Treblinka in August 1942; the remainder of the Jewish community was liquidated in November, 1942. This approximately 300-page book chronicles the life of the Jewish community of Siedlce from the mid-19th century through its destruction during the Holocaust.

Key Audiences

Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots to Siedlce and its region constitute the primary audience for the material. However, the material has the potential to be of broader appeal to scholars interested in the region or specializing in Jewish history and society. 

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 died in the forests are not recorded elsewhere. Fainzliber's work, considered the first book of remembrance of Siedlce Jews, contains accounts from the mouths of survivors written down right after the war by a former teacher of a Hebrew school in Siedlce who left for Palestine before the war and visited his home town after the Holocaust with the aim of writing this book. The book was digitized by National Yiddish Book Centre, Steven Spielberg Foundation, and is available for free download at https://archive.org/details/nybc209458

Project Description

Table of Contents, Name Index and 3 chapters have been already translated into English and published on line by JewishGen Yizkor Book Project http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/siedlce/Siedlce.html. The translated volume consists of 20 pages, leaving about 240 pages to complete the translation.

Michael Halber will assist with coordinating the funding and will also be in charge of selecting a professional translator. Michael was a coeditor of recently published translation of “The Jews in Siedlce 1850–1945” by Edward Kopowka, from Polish to English (http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Siedlce3/Siedlce3.html, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/ybip/YBIP_Siedlce.html). Upon completion of the translation, he will submit it for posting on the Jewish Gen website.

Estimated Cost

$3,600. JewishGen will be responsible for paying the translator, and donations to the fund will be tax-deductible for U.S. citizens.

 


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