Proposal
Ratno (Ratne, Ratna), Ukraine

Project Name. Translation of the Ratne, Ukraine Yizkor Book

Project Leader
Lynne Siegel


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

Project Synopsis

Ratne; sipura shel kehila yehudit she-hushmeda, Ratne, The Story of a Jewish Community that was Destroyed, Ratno Society in Israel, edited by Nahman Tamir, Tel Aviv, 1983, 331 pages, was written in Hebrew. Ratno has a Jewish history dating back to at least 1516. Although a small town, it was an important center for surrounding shtetlach in the area. At the outbreak of World War II, there were 2,140 Jews in the town, almost 54% of the total population. Over one hundred Jews were murdered there between July of 1941 and July of 1942. On August 25, 1942, the Nazis took approximately 1,300 persons to a quarry outside of town and opened fire on them. Some escaped into the forest. Only a handful of these persons ultimately survived. After March 22, 1944, fourteen survivors soon returned to the town. Jews from Ratno have settled in the U.S., Argentina, Canada, Cuba, and Israel. This Yizkor book, along with one over twice the size of this one, is one of the few remaining sources of information about the town.

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

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 those who emigrated to specific countries are of tremendous genealogical value, as often the names of individuals who were murdered, 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 translation will be of interest to researchers with roots in Ratno and the surround area and also to researchers studying Jewish and Christian communities in this part of Eastern Europe. For those with a particular interest in Ratno during the period prior to and during the Holocaust, the concluding section will be relevant.

Project Description

Approximately 331 pages in Hebrew need to be translated and posted to the Yizkor Book Translations site. No part of the book has been posted online. A preliminary unofficial translation of the title page, Table of Contents and several picture captions have been completed, but need to be translated by the professional translator. 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. The title page, table of contents, necrology, and picture captions will be translated first. As funds become available, the remaining Hebrew pages will be translated. Specific tasks the Project Coordinator will perform include proofreading, editing, and preparing the work for submission to the Yizkor Book Project. The Project Coordinator will also find interested people to contribute.

Estimated Cost: $5,000 to $7,000


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Updated 15 Aug 2009 by LA