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[Pages 536-535]

Introduction

By the editors

And again - with awe and reverence with inconsolable sorrow - we are lighting a memorial candle for the martyrs of the Mlawa community. These were our brothers and our sisters, our parents and our children, who suffered the worst of all evils in the years of the war and the Holocaust. They suffered with heroism until they perished in blood and in fire.

This memorial tribute, presented in this “Jewish Mlawa”, comes as the latest link in the chain of our community. These include the Mlawa book (1950) and other publications which Mlawa survivors in Israel and abroad have issued and are continuing to issue, and the memorials at Yad Vashem, at the Hebrew University, at the Herzl Forest and at the other places listed on the last page of this book.

Fathomless as our grief is and great our efforts to retrieve the past and to preserve it in writing. It still seems that we have not done, and can never do enough. Not all has been told that should be told and passed on to future generations so that they can know and understand their roots. Hence the awe and love which accompanied the initiators of this undertaking, its editor and the members of the editorial board in all the years of researching and compiling the information for this book. They have relied in this task on the memories of survivors, records, documents, testimonies and other sources.

We have tried our best to reconstruct the daily life along with the spiritual image of the Mlawa community, to depict its youth, its communal, social, economic, political and cultural life from the time it became a home to Jews until its tragic destruction during the Holocaust, at the height of its glory.

Let this book be another addition to the monument to the community of Mlawa, which was and is no more.

Due to the large quantity of material in the form of memoirs, photographs and documents, the book is divided into volumes. The first volume describes the history and development of the Jewish community of Mlawa - until its extinction, and appears in 3 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, and English. The second volume is primarily devoted to the horrific days and the Holocaust of the Jews of Mlawa during the Second World War. Included are personal accounts and details of the activities of “landsmanschaften” (local “landsmen” groups) in Israel and in the Diaspora.

Chapters - Volume I and Volume II:

  1. Jewish Mlawa: History and Development
  2. The Holocaust and the Struggle
  3. Personalities and Families
  4. Organizations and former residents of Mlawa in Israel and in the Diaspora.
  5. Summary in English.

In spite of the wealth of information contained in these volumes, we are aware that not everything concerning the lives of the Jews of Mlawa has found expression in these memoirs. If any person, institution or organization was not mentioned, it was with no malice or negative intention on the part of the writers or the editors. The reader will decide if this book indeed accomplished what it set out to do.

The articles appearing in the book are solely the responsibility of the authors.Many thanks to those who contributed to this memorial to our community.


[Pages 534]

1914 - Germans Enter Mlawa

MLAWA, Warsaw province, August 1914-German forces, in pursuit of the fleeing Russian Army, have taken this town on the road to Warsaw. The citizens of Mlawa, one-third of whom are Jews, welcomed the German soldiers as liberators when they entered the town.

The German advance through Mlawa is part of a general offensive that is moving southward from East Prussia in the direction of the Polish capital. Following the recent battle at Tannenberg (Grunwald), the Russian Army is retreating in confusion, although reinforcements are expected to regroup before the Germans reach Warsaw.

Whether the German forces will achieve their goal and capture the city cannot as yet be foretold.

Meanwhile, those who live in territory conquered by the Germans have begun to reestablish their local governments. The people, especially the Jews, who suffered more than others under the Russian yoke, are enjoying greater freedom than they experienced under the Czars.

The Germans hope to gain support for their cause from the population in the conquered areas and to attract recruits for the German Army.

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