[Page 4 - Hebrew] [Page 1 - English]
It is not by chance that the survivors in Jewish communities all over the world have chosen the commemorative volume as the proper perpetuation of their communities and loved ones in days past and of those annihilated by the Nazi arch enemy. In all its wanderings the Jewish people has carried along the Holy Bible and the books of law and commentary compiled in the course of generations, as a treasure trove from which it drew guidance, comfort and faith.
The books published to date contain a voluminous collection of historical data, events, folklore and much attestation, first hand and authentic, about the life, the struggle and the last days under Nazi occupation. In their totality these books add up to an important source whence students and authors will draw information and material for producing the chronicles of the Jewish world and the Jewish communities no longer in existence.
I have been privileged to witness the consolidation of the Rachov-Annopol volume, and the meticulous and diligent work of Mr. Shmuel Nitzan. Thanks to his work and that of many others, there has come forth a well-edited volume, which reflects the course of the community from its inception to the end. I have discovered that this tiny community, known by name only to those residing in its vicinity or those familiar with the history of Polish Jewry, had produced a unique type of Jew and recorded chapters worthy of note and remembrance.
The approach of many of the participants in this volume, in writing their memoirs and impressions, is not one of indulgence in nostalgia over the past. Many of them have charted new courses, built families and struck roots in new homes, in Israel and elsewhere, and are proud Jews and solid citizens. Their attitude toward the past is one of love and appreciation of days past. Far from feeling embarrassed by the history of their town, they are aware of the power and the grace embodied in the Jewish way of life, and have made it fertile soil for enriching the life of the individual.
In perusing the pages of this volume, one learns a lesson about the power concealed in that life, about the values and world outlook of simple Jewish folk, in whom Judaism and humanism found a common expression.
[Page 13 - Hebrew] [Page 327 - Yiddish] [Page 5 - English]
The title of this volume, TESTIMONY AND REMEMBRANCE, has reference to the two elements, which make up its contents:
Purposes and goals
The name of the book indicates its purpose and the direction of its goals. It is intended to serve as testimony to what happened to Rachov and its townspeople during that period on the cursed continent. The testimony was taken from eye-witnesses who themselves went through the tortures of body and soul or who had heard the accounts from eye-witnesses who later perished. However, much of the book is devoted to a collection of memoirs and stories about the life of our community during the centuries preceding the Holocaust, as well as to an account of the recovery made by Rachovers in Israel and the diaspora.
The main goal is to reach the generation of the Holocaust and those who came in its aftermath. It is important that we and they learn the vital historical lesson of not basking in the illusions of the grace of the nations, for, as we are told in Proverbs (14:34), sin is the grace of nations.
Even as we went through the material, we were impressed by its content, scope and form. Many items which were not intended to appear in print were found acceptable. Whatever deletions or abbreviations were made stemmed from budgetary limitations. We tried to make maximal use of all kinds of material, as it accommodated the purpose. It should be remembered that books of this nature are quite stereotyped, with little room or opportunity for innovation other than the choice of emphasis. We have therefore organized the material in chronological sequence, in three parts:
We trust that the reader will find the book and its contents worthy of the memory of our townspeople, whose martyrdom and remembrance this volume seeks to perpetuate.
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