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(page 7) Hebrew

Introduction

Translated by Michael J. Bohnen

Our unsilenced wish -- for those of us who mourn and lament – to produce a memorial for our dear town finally has been realized. For a long time, we dreamed of publishing a book that would reflect its life and destruction. Therein should be written and sealed, in one collection, the glory of its existence from happier times and cries from its depression during the days of the Holocaust, together with the brave deeds and resistance that developed and became famous. Facts inscribed on a tablet, with the passage of time and the distance of travel, will not be forgotten; an educating testimony will remain for our posterity and us.

Each year on the Memorial Day of the destruction of our town, the proposed book was the topic of programs, debates, and hopes that one day it would be realized. These discussions occurred regularly, but we were actually without any experience and did not know how to realize this dream.

Only a few survivors remained; and clearly, the financial burden of this kind of project would be heavy. The problem could be resolved only with a co-operative effort, not just with regard to finances, but with every aspect of the book's contents, form, editing and production. We were groping our way in the darkness. Who among us would direct the authors to distinguish between the essential and the unimportant? How could we balance the desires of each one of us to describe and highlight his family? This desire is very natural, but threatened to upset the design of the book and to dilute the overall work. How could we overcome this desire and leave space in its pages for the varied existence of the town, of its landscapes and its personalities?

A suggestion proposed that the record of our town be included in a common book with several of the communities in our area, a book already being prepared. After some time, we were convinced that this kind of framework would narrowly constrict each of the communities including our own. So, we began to think that we needed our own separate framework. Yet, even as we separated ourselves, we remembered well the town of Orlova, our longtime neighbor, whose fate, even in the days of the Holocaust, was tied to ours, as her blood touched ours. We decided, therefore, to join her name with the name of our town and to entitle our book with both names.

Only a small number of survivors of Orlova remained who could work with us and share our burden. Only good will and unconditional love guided our work in this area. We saw this as the will of our ancestors from Zaludok, who were well known for their kindness and love of brotherhood. So developed the idea “The Book of Zaludok and Orlova,” two beloved and dear communities that were not separated in life or death.

For the production and form of the book, we accepted the outlook of our editor; and we attempted to follow it: a book of many contributors, anyone who wished to write could write and those who wished to tell their stories would be assisted and encouraged to do so. Not an album of isolated families and homes, but a portrait of the entire town, of which the family forms an important component when it is engaged with and adds life to the town. “Don't describe closed houses,” said the editor, “but houses with open windows overlooking the entire town with a spark of life.” We know well that we did not always succeed in implementing this method, but this remained our guideline.

Through letters and oral communications, we reached out to those who came from our town asking for their participation and not all responded to our request. But, we believe, we succeeded in these pages to include what will be an important contribution for our posterity and us.

With awe and love, we approached the task of preparing the list of martyrs. With great concern, we agonized over the completion of the list. Experience teaches that in Yizkor books in general and especially in lists of martyrs, errors will always be discovered. We are privileged to say that we did all that we could, and even beyond that, to make our book worthy of its name.

It is a pleasant duty for us to acknowledge here Mr. Lieber Losh from Szczuczyn, the initiator of the combined book publication with whom we covered much ground in activity and thought, and Mr. Zerach Carmin, who gathered part of the material and worked with selfless dedication and great love. We also thank the daughters of our town, Leah Lutsky (Greizhevsky), Sonya Plavensky (Luniansky), Cheina Breznitsky ((Zhludasky) and Sarah Meirov (Zevrovsky), who worked diligently and who examined and verified the list of martyrs as a sacred trust.

We need to give special recognition to the family of Leon Ganchrovsky (Oronitsky) who contributed generously to the publication of the book and even provided the paper for its printing. We also thank the workers of the Ofer Press for their kind and careful efforts.

Last but not least, we acknowledge with praise the editor of the book, the poet and guide of this book, Mr. Aaron Meirovitz, who responded to our entreaties and assumed this heavy undertaking, who brought personalities to life and elicited the memories which the witnesses recounted that he transcribed. He edited, translated, and proofread. By linking detail to detail, he united us in the furnace of suffering with the memory of the awful days of the Holocaust as he committed to writing the scroll of fire that is before us.

Not only words of praise and thanks, but also expressions of prayer are in our heart: May this book serve as a unifier of the survivors of our town, providing a mutual connection in brotherhood and friendship.

The Editors


(pp.17-18) Hebrew

Historical Details

Zaludok

The “Geographical Dictionary” published in Warsaw in 1884 states, among other things, that Zaludok is a town on the shores of the Zoludchanka River, near the right bank of the Neman River in the area of Lida. It is located on the road from Grodno to Novogrodek, a distance of 10 viorsts from the post office in the town of Peshchulna. It is 42 viorsts southwest of Lida and 130 viorsts from Vilna. It had 130 houses with 674 residents. It had a district government, a Catholic church, a Jewish synagogue, a Jewish house of prayer, two flour mills powered by the river, a whiskey distillery, a beer brewery, twenty-three stores, a weekly market every Sunday, and an annual fair.

For purposes of the military draft district, Zaludok was included with the villages of Boyary, Farnikoniatz, Kofri, Zanyuki, Skiarsiah Valchki and others. In 1865, there were 515 draftees in the district. The District Government included the town of Zaludok, Krasula, Domberovo and twenty-six other localities.

Nearby, across the Neman River, are great forests, filled even today with beasts of prey. These include mountain goats, wild pigs and deer. On the shores of the river are found beaver; and those who pass through the forests are occasionally attacked by bears. The ground has raised plateaus that cover the dense forests. The grazing fields are very broad; and there are also swamps and dunes. The rivers in the area are the Neman, the Shachara, the Liabyudky and the Exhale-Dechanka.

Zaludok was once the possession of the Kings of Poland. In the records of the Great Lithuanian Principality were listed the names of the rulers of Zaludok from its earliest days, to wit: Martin Shchiftovitz, 1501-1508; Michael Fatziviz, 1510; and Prince Vassil Polvinski, 1516 -1533.

King Cosimir Yagilonchik founded a Catholic church in Zaludok and also gave it land in 1480-1490. But in one of the Tatar raids, apparently in 1506, the building burned; and the documents were destroyed. In 1529, King Zigmund I rebuilt the church. In 1535, Prince S. Bialski fled from Moscow with the Minister Ivan Lutski and asked for the protection of the King of Poland. The old King Zigmund granted to Prince Bialski the towns of Zhizhmori, Stoklishki and Kormialov, which is near Zaludok, and to Ivan Lutski the towns of Vikivi-Dvor Later, Zaludok became the possession of the Princes of the House of Sopiha. From them, Zaludok passed to the House of Radzimion and the House of Prantskavitz. Swedish King Carl XII, in retreating from the army of Czar Peter the Great, King of Russia, reached Zaludok together with divisions of the Polish army. Carl stayed in Zaludok for a long time, the entire difficult winter. From here, he supervised the construction of the bridge over the Neman that was built by the village of Orlova.

On March 8, 1706, Carl came down to the river to inspect the underside of the bridge. The ice broke suddenly; and the King slipped and almost drowned. The King, saved from drowning, was seriously injured from his fall. Even so, the next day he received a delegation of residents of Vilna who came to seek the welfare of their city that suffered from the fear of war. In the 18 th century, Zaludok became a possession of the House of Tisenhaus, which surrounded their court in the town with a beautiful garden. From the House of Tisenhaus, possession of Zaludok passed as a dowry to become the property of the nobles of the House of Orosky.

The “Jewish Encyclopedia” has few details about Zaludok. It briefly stated that Zaludok is a town in the Lida area in the Province of Vilna and that in 1847 there were 247 Jews living there. And in 1897, there were 1,372 Jews in Zaludok out of a total population of 1,860.

Orlova

In the “State Chronicle,” which was the Book of Protocols of the “Committee of Major Communities” in Lithuania, the town is called Orlov. In 1729, we find the name Orlov for the first time in this chronicle. This date is early compared to the other communities such as Shchutsin that is first mentioned in official documents in 1766.

On Tevet 27 in 1729, the leaders of all of the communities in Lithuania gathered in Amdur. After a debate about various regulations, the Treasurer established an annual income tax from the various communities. Among the communities paying the annual tax to the Committee of Major Communities, we find the name of Orlov. From this, we learn that the community was established years earlier. However, these official documents are no longer in existence.

In the “Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland” from 1880-1884, published in Warsaw by W. Wolvsky, we read that Orliya (Orlova) is a town situated on the lands of the nobleman H. Uruska, near the shore of the Neman River, 50 viorsts from Lida and 138 viorsts from Vilna. There are 83 houses and 598 people in the town. There is a wooden church built in 1783 and a Jewish synagogue. On the Neman, near the town, is a ferry and a small harbor for boats. Orlova is under the jurisdiction of the district court in Shchutsin; and draftees are required to report to Zaludok.

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