With this Ciechanow book the destroyed holy Kehillah of the Polish shtetl of Ciechanow near the Lidinia River enters the literary-eternity. We do not use the word matzaivah (monument) here as it is usually used for the Yizkor Books of destroyed Kehillot, because the concept matzaivah evokes in our minds a specific earthly place, a heap of earth, over which there is engraved on a stone Poh Nikvar (Here lies buried).
The mourners of Ciechanow do not have where to inscribe Poh Nikvar. The German destroyers wiped out the Kehillah in such a way that even the bones of the destroyed martyrs did not get their eternal rest in the graves. What did remain, however, were the great deeds of their spiritual ancestral and communal life. The curse of the destroyed ones to those who murdered and hung them and the bright hope of those who died through such agonies, that the truth must have its victory and the murderers will get their punishment.
These non-physical remains that stir the minds of the survivors of the destroyed Ciechanow Kehillah, the exalted historical deeds, recorded in chronicles and old documents, collected and included in this Yizkor Book, give the large picture of the Ciechanow Jewish people who, for hundreds of years, led their lives in sanctity and holiness. The memories of the survivors -- the witnesses and sufferers of the German extermination -- are, in this book -- the great accusation act against the armed military-gangs who tortured and murdered these innocent Jews.
Exalted and holy is the debt that the survivors of the murdered Kehillah took upon themselves to memorialize them in the Yizkor Books. This undertaking is accomplished by a few idealists, true emissaries for us all. Such emissaries are the few Ciechanow Jews who took upon themselves the heavy responsibility of gathering material and documents, to influence the survivors of our Shtetl to write their memoirs.
It is not easy to influence Jews who went through the hell of the German extermination to record their painful experiences. Everyone wants to forget the horrendous past. Therefore, great thanks and recognition are due the idealistic public emissaries who do not let it be forgotten, but demand: Tell, open your wounds, let the world see the wrinkles in your faces. Maybe that will help to remind the world leaders to take precautions that there should never again occur a Nazi fascist extermination of Jews nor others.
Yaacov Bronrot, Riva Gonska-Leshed, Yehoshua Grosbard, Moishe Kolka
|Moishe Leser||Binyamin Apel|
The last word has not been said yet about the life and destruction of Ciechanow Jewry nor of Polish Jewry in general. New writings are always surfacing about the destroyed Jews who, in their last moments of their tragic lives, remembered to leave for future generations, hidden in the ground, the painful megillah of their experiences.
Just recently a diary was found in the Auschwitz extermination lager, half of which was written by a Ciechanower, Zalman Levental. As this Yizkor Book was being finalized, this new-found book had not yet reached us. We simply want to note that such a diary that bears the name, Lodz Ghetto was found. The editorial committee of the Ciechanow Jewish Yizkor Book will try to bring to its landsleit the diary of Zalman Levental, who was painfully put to death in Auschwitz.
A. Wolf Yasni
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