|From the right:
Mrs. Riwka Barkai, Kalman Barkai, M. Gelbart and Juda Londner
|Members of the Book Committee|
Standing from the right:
Pinchas Lustiger, Josef Pewenczne, Jakob Zygrajch, Juda Londner,
Isser Lavi, Efraim Lenczner, Mrs. Szyfra Szpigler
Sitting from the right:
Cwi Simchoni, Kalman Barkai, Mrs. Riwka Barkai, and Juda Szpigler
Translated by Lance Ackerfeld
For more than a decade, the Organization of Dabrowa Górnicza emigres in Israel conceived the idea of publishing a memorial book dedicated to the community of our town. However, the idea only took material form at the last conference of the organization which took place in 1966, in which a definite decision was reached to publish the book and an editorial staff was elected.
As with every public orientated project, one requires a number of extremely dedicated people, and to our good fortune and luck, a number of such people were found among the former residents, and with their strong conviction they brought in others who, in turn, afforded their support and assistance in this complex project.
At the outset of producing this book a great man was taken from amongst us, our distinguished friend, Rabbi Chanoch Gerszon Szpilberg, of blessed memory; with his wide knowledge of the history of the town and his infinite dedication he knew how to deliberate and wisely deal out advice.
We continued on somberly, immense was our pain; still we were drawn forward by a great responsibility towards future generations and towards our blessed ones and the survivors.
We convey our sincere thanks to our friends, Juda Londner, Kalman Barkai and his wife Riwka, who worked unremittingly, day and night, collecting the material from all corners of the world, accumulating all available information, in order to extract and encompass the subjects which would reflect the history of the Jews in our town in all facets of their lives.
The historical material presented in this book about the town and the annals of the first Jewish settlement within it, is written in accordance with motifs that are mirrored in certificates and documents, newspapers and in the memory of those former town residents living with us today.
We wrote within our abilities, eulogized those whom we remembered; in the pages of this book we perpetuated the memory of all that was holy and dear to us. The whole town is embodied with these: its streets, its houses, its multitude of Jews, its houses of learning, all that existed and is no more.
We are aware that the book contains flaws and defects, and we accept there will
be complaints by some of our townspeople, but we are confident that we have
worked to the best of our ability. The holy obligation that we placed upon
ourselves, and our commitment to this sacred work, is what will stand against
any criticism and omissions on our part
How did you exhaust, Dabrowa, all of your Jews?
How did you exile your sons and daughters
Did your elderly fall by the hands of evil men
Were your wares stolen in broad daylight
Were the righteous shot at the hands of oppressors?
How will the poet mourn your destruction?
How were the voices of your schools silenced?
How was your teacher's learning terminated?
Were your sons and daughters swept from your streets
Were your sons taken into captivity.
Is there a calamity as great as yours?
The houses were your graves
And your infants were shattered on rocks.
Rock of Israel: Avenge the fallen blood of your servants!
Country: Don't conceal their blood!
Translated by Lance Ackerfeld
Our thanks goes out to all of those who assisted in the publication of this Yizkor Book dedicated to the Jewry of Dabrowa Górnicza, and to the institutions that agreed to our requests with regards to historical material concerning Dabrowa and these are:
Yad Vashem Jerusalem, Yad Vashem Tel Aviv, YIVO New York, the Historical Society of Warsaw, the Warsaw National Library, Biblioteka Narodowa Warszawa, the Jewish Historical Institute of Warsaw, Zydowski Instytut Historyczny Warszawa and the Selisian Library in Katowice, Biblioteka Slaka Katowice.
Likewise, we wish to thank our friends: Riwka Barkai, Efraim Lenczner, Juda Londner and Iser Lavi for their essays written based on the stories told to them by those that had undergone the Nazi hell; They checked and compared the reliability of the sources, encouraged the elders of the town to relate the history of the community, and in particular two of our friends should be noted: Efraim Lenczner and Juda Londner who visited to the university archives in Jerusalem, in order to extract the past life of our community.
Additional acknowledgments go out to the following friends:
Riwka Barkai, Juda Londner, Iser Lavi, Abram Bitner and Shlomo Shunami, who worked tirelessly to accurately translate material written in Polish into Hebrew and from Yiddish into Hebrew and English.
To our friends: Josef Piwniczny (Nitzani), Juda Londner and Efraim Lenczner our greatest appreciation, for checking, editing and proof reading the material.
To the artists: Szymon Balicki (born in Dabrowa) and Icchak Belfer. To both we thank you sincerely for your drawings.
To the members of the Book Committee who stood by us with advice, helped carry the financial burden of publishing, and encouraged the workers a hearty thank you.
A warm thank you to the dozens of fund-raisers who trudged to the houses of former townspeople in Israel and the Diaspora, to raise money for the book publishing fund.
Our gratitude to the Dabrowa townspeople in Israel and in the Diaspora, who responded heartily and generously and helped to establish a monument to our community.
Finally, to our friend, Jakob Zaygreich, thank you for managing the donation
funds, and to our friend, Kalman Barkai (of the Swiczarczyk family) thank you
for your dedicated efforts.
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