Arija Lejb Margolis, Tel-Aviv
Translated by Judie Ostroff Goldstein
Soon after the war, in 1945, I was consumed by the idea of producing a book to personify a memorial for the Jews of our ravaged hometown, whom the Nazis destroyed - a real monument to the unnamed dead and wind-blown ashes - an eternal light for their pure souls. I asked myself if I could manage such a responsibility, such a large undertaking? How would I know what to include and how would it be possible to explain the scope of suffering and torture that our martyrs experienced, since death had silenced them. And how would I give substance to the martyrs who had once lived, had been a part of us, but are no more.
How does one take written material and restore with printer's type their Jewish life, the process of the tragic destruction in our dear old home, where we were born, brought up, and spent our best years and which therefore demands a memorial from us for future generations.
In the struggle from ideas to action, I went through many hardships along with our fellow townsman, the former secretary of the Kehilla, Tuwia Makower. His encouragement and strength helped the important, major task of publishing this Memorial Book take place.
First there was the difficulty of finding material about the existence and hardships of the Jewish Community in Ostrowa. Through personal contact with various people, I succeeded in finding a portion of the material needed for the book, but far from enough for the scope I had hoped for. Here, unhappily, I must mention that to our appeal to former townsmen - writers and businessmen - in Israel and around the world regarding material for the Yizkor Book, few responded.
My high hopes were dashed. I contacted our former landslayt A.M. Orzycer in New York, for help. Besides his work, he actively participated in finding material from the landslayt in America with great success.
Some material was still missing, but the principal testimony was there. Now how was I to successfully bring out the era? Who would it take to edit and correct the material? In January 1959 I made contact with the writer M. Gelbart, who undertook the editing and correction of the Yizkor Book, as well as finding other necessary material.
I must also mention the well-known writer Aba Gordin (son of Rabbi Jehuda Gordin) for his help with this project.
My heartfelt thanks to everyone here and outside Israel, comrades and friends, who helped with advice and collected material for the Yizkor Book.
I am also deeply grateful to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem for their support in regard to this book.
This Yizkor Book, besides being a worthy monument, commemorates the Nazi-ravaged Ostrower Jews - together with the majority of European Jewry. Hopefully it will also serve as an incentive for continuing the reciprocal help and friendship of all Ostrowers throughout the world.
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