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[Page 189]

Translated by Esther Libby Raichman

With the publication of this remembrance book we are establishing a memorial to our dear communities of Stoibtz and Swierzno. This will be followed by another volume of folk-treasures where stories will be told about the life of the communities dating back hundreds of years until the recent holocaust.

Important cultural institutions and spiritual treasures were wiped out by the devil's hand leaving no memory behind.

A historical commandment has compelled us to publish this book while there are still memories of the near and distant past hidden and stored in the hearts and minds of survivors. The task of collecting, selecting and annotating the material, stretched for a period of 10 years. Had it not been for the few who, with love and devotion dedicated themselves to the project, who knows if this book would ever have been published?

This book highlights folklore materials, recollections and descriptions of life in Stoibtz-Swierzno at different periods in time. The writings of our renowned President Zalman Shazar (Rubashov) are informative and important. In his book “My Shtetl Stoibtz” he reflects like an image in clear water, the life in Stoibtz and as an artistic writer describes in a sincere and touching manner, the vibrant and stormy life of the shtetl.[1]

The Jews of Stoibtz and Swierzno have indeed done a good deed in establishing a memorial to the history of the “shtetlech” (small towns), their development, their social workers; and leaders, members of the communities, charities and cultural institutions.

The material about the Holocaust was written by partisans with tears and pain about life in the ghettos, the work camps and their wanderings through fields and forests.

We turn to our “landsleit”, fellow members of our community, brothers and sisters wherever they may be; when you read or leaf through this book, you should know that these are historical Pages describing those who are near and dear to us who perished for “Kiddush Hashem”, the sanctification of God's name.

From beginning to end this book is an eternal memorial, a historical monument written with tears and blood. It seems to be finished yet it is not complete. Great thanks are due to the important son of the town, President Zalman Shazar who agreed to read part of our material in manuscript form.

We would also like to express our sincere gratitude and recognition to all those who assisted us with input and advice as well as with financial support. In so doing they have helped to eternalize the memory of those 2 communities that perished so tragically.

The Editorial Board[2]

 

Footnotes
  1. Before our eyes, there evolves in all its greatness, the enlightened image of “Chazon Ish”, the vision of man. Return
  2. Refers to Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz (1878 - 1953) who was known by the name of his magnus opus “Chazon Ish”. He was an authority on Halachah and became one of the leaders of Charedi Judaism in Israel where he spent the last 20 years of his life. Return

 


[Page 190]

Young sprouts, Spring flowers -
Who can banish them from our hearts?
What we love in our young days-
Will forever remain alive…

(“My Shtetl Stoibtz”, Zalman Shazar)

Since the dark thought caught up with me that my Jewish shtetl disappeared from the face of the earth and no longer exists, my heart does not stop thinking about it. For years it seems as if she has forgotten to occupy my memory and has now suddenly blossomed in me to a new spring. Each time that destiny bestows upon me or forces upon me an hour of calm, there appears before my eyes extinguished images of my past youth that light up anew with a glowing light.

Since the great hope for a new future for our scattered community in a free home, in an old land, each time angry winds move in to spread confusion and sow hatred, there appear before my spiritual eyes, images of my vanished past that grow to uplift, to comfort and to show the way.

And so I believe that as a little boy, I saw the old father Abraham standing bent over the railing of the narrow bridge leading him and Sarah across the river, shocked and elevated by the wonderful beauty that suddenly glowed before his eyes from the depth of the water. He lived with his Sarah and for her, for a lifetime, and only now, leading her across the unfamiliar river to the dangers lurking in it, in the king's house, he suddenly, as if for the first time saw her fully in the blue depth of the passing abyss.

In exactly the same way, when I was a child, I used to love to sneak out at night to the old well that had been dug up in the school yard and leaning back on the small handles of the well, look deeply at the glowing heavenly stars that dip into the well's hidden places.

Let us examine in greater depth the beauty of the fading stars that dip into the depths of our memories, because the well is no longer there.

From the book entitled: “Morning Stars”, by Zalman Shazar

 

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