after years of exhaustive and intensive work, we present the DrohitchinYizkor
Book to our esteemed friends and readers. This book should serve as a memorial
to the holy community of Drohitchin. Our parents are no more! Our brothers and
sisters are no more! Drohitchin - where the elderly lived in peace and quiet,
and where children laughed and played in the streets - is no more. The sweet
voices of the children will never be heard again, and our joy will be consumed
by fury and suffering.
Drohitchin, our dear hometown,
the place where our cradles stood, the place where our mothers used to lull us
to sleep with melodies of Jewish hopes and fears. Drohitchin the beloved
hometown of our youth, where we soaked in the Jewish
[groan] is silent. Together with millions of Jewish martyrs who were put
to death by the German murderers, approximately five thousand Drohitchin Jews
were killed to sanctify the name of G-d. May G-d avenge their deaths!
Those of us who were witnesses
to the enormous catastrophe have no strength to measure and make sense of the
great disaster and the enormity of the tragedy. This is because we were too
close to the misfortune that befell us. We became accustomed to the cries of
the Jewish children in the gas chambers and their laments in the crematoria.
Perhaps the following generations will have the strength to get a feeling of
the gruesome tragedy that overtook our generation.
However, to remain silent and
not tell our children and the world what the Germans did to us, and refrain
from immortalizing the holy memory of our loved ones from Drohitchin would be a
crime against G-d and the martyrs! In just a few decades, the memory of
Drohitchin would have totally been forgotten.
This, then, is the goal of the
to describe for future generations the joys and sorrows of approximately five
hundred years of the Jewish community in Drohitchin, and to provide a
gravestone in words and pictures
and its martyrs.
There can be no better and
enduring monument than this Yizkor Book. It is a gravestone of holy letters
that can never be erased. Gravestones of wood and stones are not immortal. Wood
rots and burns; stones can be dug up and broken off. A gravestone of letters,
however, lives forever. Many stone and wooden monuments remain, but what about
the butchery that Jews have endured in just the last couple of hundred years?
If we do something about material conditions, this is due to the monuments of
the written word. It suffices, for example, to mention the book by Rabbi Notta
Hanover (who died on July 14, 1683),
Yavan Metsulah [Deep Mire],
which is an immortal historical document and a monument for approximately a
half million Jews who fell victim to Bogdan Chmielnitski's Cossacks in 1648-49.
Furthermore, a stone or wooden
monument cannot move; it is mute and lifeless. It cannot speak, it says
nothing. It is merely an ornament for a few people who live around it. However,
a monument of a Yizkor Book gets distributed all over the world, and says to
every individual, "Look at me, read me, look and remember!"
When the Romans wrapped him in a Torah scroll and burned him in an
the great sage of the Talmud, Rabbi Chaninah ben Tardion, said:
"The parchment burns, but the letters rise heavenward." (Tractate
18). The German murderers killed and burned the holy martyrs in order to hide
all traces of their butchery! Those martyrs didn't even get a grave, but our
"Scroll of Fire," written in letters of fire will soar across the
whole world; from the
from the extinguished sparks, shall arise
[the Hebrew word for 'fire']. The burned bodies of the martyrs will turn into
fiery, glowing and flying images, and strike the minds of their murderers with
the pointers the rabbis taught the alphabet to the children in the
[religious elementary schools].
Even if hundreds of years from
now there only exists only a single copy of the Drohitchin Book in some far
away museum, archive or library, the exterminated Jewish community of
Drohitchin will live forever in history!
We realize that there is
repetition of information in the Yizkor Book; we intentionally left it in
because we specifically wanted to immortalize the various versions that were
provided by several individuals in their descriptions of the Holocaust, and who
survived the slaughter and hell of the Germans. This is because each version
makes a unique contribution. We believe that every single letter, groan and cry
that is put to paper at the feverish moment of suffering and rage is history
itself! It reflects the very survival of the moment described! The truth is
that none of the contributors could have expressed their survival in as such a
strong way as the way we have expressed it in this book. Therefore, we have
immortalized every written description and document that is even remotely
related to Drohitchin.
We also realize that not
everything that could, or should, be written about Drohitchin has been
described in this book, and the opposite is also true. However, even the small
amount described in this book arrived with great difficulty. The most difficult
job was the revising, assembling and editing of the material, which was in
extremely raw condition. In addition, most of the articles had to be revised
both in style and form, and recreated them, giving them life and spirit.
Afterwards, we had to correct and classify the material, break up and lay out
the pages, and read the corrected versions (dozens of times). This was all done
and written by one person. It's no wonder that it has taken so long to publish
We should mention Zalman
Shevinsky, the originator of the book, and Gedaliah Kaplan, who assembled part
of the original unedited material and photos. We extend a heartfelt
congratulations to the administrative committee and everyone else who
participated in getting the Yizkor Book published. We did the work; now the
Drohitchin Book belongs to our esteemed readers and friends. It's now up to
critics and historians to judge it.
15 Shvat 5714
Rabbi Dov B. Warshavsky
[January 19, 1954 Tu Bishvat]
With G-d's Help. Printed on 15 Shvat 5718
[February 5, 1958 Tu Bishvat]
Surface Map of Drohitchin and Environs
This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc.
and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and
destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied,
sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be
reserved by the copyright holder.
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.
Yizkor Book Project
JewishGen Home Page
Yizkor Book Project Manager, Lance Ackerfeld
This web page created by Lance Ackerfeld
Copyright ©1999-2014 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 3 Dec 2001 by LA