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[Page 362]

[English Section]

Editors' Notes

With the editing of the writings of the survivors of Stepan we became so well acquainted with the town, its inhabitants and surroundings and it seems to us that we too walked in those streets, prayed in their synagogue, bathed in the Horin River and in the forests sought places to hide from our enemies.

This book is one of many that have been published about Jewish communities partly of totally destroyed during the Holocaust. This book will make its contribution by describing life in the town before and during the Holocaust. This will serve as a monument for generations.


[Page 363]

Preface

This book was written under great emotional stress about the town of STEPAN in Wolyn, eastern Poland. It serves as a monument to the memory of the majority of the Jewish inhabitants who were mercilessly murdered by the Nazi invaders with the help of the local Ukrainian inhabitants.

We compiled the history of those horrible days from writings, photographs and recollections of the few survivors in order to present a picture of the STEPAN Jewish community which was, but no longer exists.

Despite the passing of tens of years, time has not healed the pain and horror of the truly awful period. The editors, to the best of their ability with information in hand, have attempted to present a true picture in the greatest details - especially in those instances of families of whom no one survived.

We feel obliged to mention at this point the late Yizhak Weissmn. He was one of the first to begin recording the stories describing the various family images. He was not able to finish this work. He died of grief at the loss of his son Shai Yeshayahu who fell in the defense of his country during the War of Attrition. Yitzhak's efforts served as a guide to the continuation of this work.

We would like to emphasize at this point our gratitude for the advice and guidance which contributed greatly to the contents of this book by our friend Yisrael Koifman.

It is quite possible that this book may not have seen the light of day without the concentrated efforts of Yeshayahu Peri (Preshkolnik). Mr. Peri,now living in Israel, was born and raised in Stepan. At the age of 13 he fled from the Nazis and Ukrainians and spent the next 17 months living of the land in the forest - up to the liberation by the Russians. Even at the time, during his travel to camps in Germany and Cyprus and on the way to Israel he began making notes and collecting information which in fact formed the nucleus of this book. On his arrival in Israel he convinced others to join him in his efforts to publish the sad history of the Jews of Stepan.

Not many people of STEPAN were writers as such. However, many of those who remained to the best of their ability contributed stories of their recollections, including photographs. In particular we wish to thank Leah Hashavia, Batia Scheinboim, Shlomo Scheinboim, Ze'ev Gorenstein, Mordechai Rassis,and Yeshayahu Peri, for the efforts of reconstruction of the town as it was home by home.

We know this book is not a work of great literary value. It was not intended as such. Its purpose was to record the story of Stepan and its Jewish inhabitants in the times of the Nazi terror. To the best of our ability we have recorded the recollections and memories of all the contributors.However, we do apologize in advance for duplications, which have crept into these pages. We have done this purposely in order to permit everyone to tell his story. The result? A book to serve as a permanent record in memory of STEPAN.

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