|Remember what Amalek did to you!
(Remember the Nazi-German Never forgive him.)
|Vice President||Yashe Fishman|
|Vice President||Yitschak Shpak|
|Acting Secretary||Tsipe Katz|
|Mordekhay Katz||Feyge Getsik||Ester Shpak|
|Chayim Mordish||Feyge Nudel||Bronye Oks|
|Avraham Yergis||Chane Fayer||Reyzil Sher|
|Aharon Golifman||Rivke Roykh||Freyde Yergis|
|Chayim Fayer||Manye Dorfman|
|Mordekhay Katz (Secretary)|
Editor: Falik Lerner
Designer: Leon Pokh
Translation Editor's Notes
English translation by Mindle Gross
With a feeling of deep satisfaction and the awareness of having fulfilled a holy obligation, we present our brethren in Argentina and other countries, wherever they find themselves, and the Jewish world at large with the fruits of a yearlong dream: Sefer Kremenets. Ever since we learned of our hometown's awful demise, we have felt the need to memorialize it and write an addendum to the annals of our 1,000 years of Jewish history. Kremenets, our hometown, hasn't vanished from our feelings and thoughts for even one moment, even in Israel, and we have always wanted and attempted to memorialize it and build a monument to it, as it so well deserves. Regretfully, however, we encountered many difficulties and couldn't bring our aspirations to fruition as quickly as we'd hoped. Various financial and technical circumstances perpetually blocked the path to realizing our plan to publish this book, which would be a memorial to our hometown, its Jews, its way of life, its problems, its spiritual personality, and the story of its tragic demise. Now our dream has become a reality, and, like other long-lost Jewish cities and towns, Kremenets, our hometown, will have a monument worthy of it.
It isn't for us to give our opinion about this book's appearance and contents; others will do so. However, with all due modesty, we say that the material in this book differs in certain respects from that in other such books. Because of its geographical location and spiritual influence during a particular period of Russian and Polish Jewry, Kremenets was a Jewish community with a distinct significance, and this is reflected in the material in this book. The very presence of Yitschak Ber Levinzon who was born in Kremenets a champion of the Jewish Enlightenment movement in Russia in the previous century and a significant influence on Jewish life in general, gives this book a special meaning from a cultural-historical standpoint. The monograph about R' Levinzon that is incorporated within this book is a piece of history about the Jewish Enlightenment movement in Russia in the previous century.
Kremenets did not distinguish itself within the field of industry; nor was it a town of any particular movement among the Jewish population. It was, as we might say, the synthesis of Jewish life in Russia. It possessed everything that constituted Jewish life, which resulted in a high level of achievement. It had a rich, caring, ordinary Jewish family life as well as a witty and ideological intelligence, as the reader will be able to corroborate after reading the material in this book. Economically, Kremenets was not a city of manufacturers or merchants, only of Jewish craftsmen as well as hardworking, small business owners and workers. Naturally, there were exceptions, but this was the general makeup of the population. According to its history, Kremenets found itself under the cultural influence of Russia, Ukraine, and Poland, and this was reflected as well in Jewish life. It is one of the oldest towns in Volin. Volin always found itself in the position of being a sort of buffer zone between the three previously mentioned populations, drawing their spirit and culture from them.
Jewish Kremenets was an authentic expression of the many generations of Jewish life in Volin and Ukraine. Situated not far from Galicia, it absorbed the Ukrainian Jews' softness and sense of spirituality but was still under the influence of eastern Jewry. It probably wasn't a coincidence that an Enlightenment movement personality such as RYB”L should have come from there. Kremenets did not remain indifferent to the general and Jewish movements, and it had members of all socialist leanings, until the ardent Zionists embraced the ideal of dwelling in Zion with heart and soul by fulfilling the commandment of immigrating to Israel. Kremenets also spawned famous personalities in the realms of fighting for Jewish rights and spiritual creativity. It was well represented in the overall panorama of Jewish life in Russia and Poland.
Like other Jewish towns in Eastern Europe between the world wars, Kremenets felt the loss of its youth, which left for the outside world, and today one can find Kremenets organizations in Israel, the United States, Argentina, and other countries throughout the world, where they continue the golden thread of Jewish life. Here in Argentina, we, too, are making the effort to continue the traditions of our old home and hand them down to the next generation.
Today, one can find former Kremenetsers in all corners of the world. There is a kibbutz in Israel composed of the children of Kremenets citizens, which is active on all fronts. Regretfully, we were unable to receive a comprehensive report on Kremenets Jews in the state of Israel, but a number of fellow townspeople from Israel are represented in this book, sharing their memories and recollections of Kremenets, and they speak for all the townspeople of Kremenets.
Jewish Kremenets, with its rich and colorful Jewish life, no longer exists. Our hometown suffered the same tragic fate as all the rest of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. What once was a beautiful reality is today a thing of the past and, along with the martyrs from other communities, perished on the altar of Nazi bestiality and their Ukrainian followers. It exists no more, except in our hearts and memories. With this book's publication, we fulfill a holy debt to our destroyed hometown, where we were all born and raised. May this written monument forever be a memorial not only for us, but for our children, who from it will learn about the beauty of our beloved Kremenets, as well as about its tragic demise.
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