Biała Podlaska, Poland - Yizkor Book

Project Name. Translation of “Sefer Biala-Podlaska”

Project Leader
Max Wald

JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager: Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

This project is being initiated in order to fund the translation of the 506 page Yizkor Book was published in Tel Aviv in 1961 and edited by M Faigenbaum

The goal is to eventually provide a complete translation of this book to JewishGen. A translation of the skeletal portions of the book (table of contents, and name lists) already exists on JewishGen.

Key Audiences

Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots to Biała Podlaska and its region constitute the primary audience for the material. However, the material has the potential to be of broader appeal to scholars interested in the region or specializing in Jewish history and society.  In particular, as has been the case with other such books, Polish gentiles with an interest in the Jewish community of Biała Podlaska or the general history of Biała Podlaska will likely take interest in the book.

Project Importance

Yizkor books are unique sources of information on once vibrant towns, primarily in central and Eastern Europe, whose Jewish populations were destroyed in the Holocaust. Written after World War II by émigrés and Holocaust survivors, yizkor books contain narratives of the history of the town, details of daily life, religious and political figures and movements, religious and secular education, and gripping stories of the major intellectual and Zionist movements of the 20th century. The necrologies and lists of residents are of tremendous genealogical value, as often the names of individuals who were taken to extermination camps or died in the forests are not recorded elsewhere.

The oldest notation concerning the Jewish community of Biała Podlaska dates from 1621, when 30 Jewish families were granted rights of residence there. By the 1800's, Jews played an important role in trade and manufacturing in was also an important Hasidic center in the 19th century.

Prior to the outbreak of WWII, Biała Podlaska had a Jewish community of over 7,000 out of a total population of over 11,000. The Germans captured Biała Podlaska on 13 September 1939 and after several deportations over the next few years, the community was wiped out, with the final aktion taking place in July 1943 with the remaining inhabitants removed to Miedzyrzec Ghetto, and was not reconstituted after the war. Survivors, descendants of survivors, as well as descendants of those who emigrated from Biała Podlaska prior to the war are known to exist in Israel, the United States, Canada, Australia and other places. This Yizkor book is the major formal source for documented history of the town, and will result in the creation of the primary English language source of information for anyone doing research on the town and its Jewish community.

Project Description

As funds become available, all Hebrew and Yiddish pages will be translated into English. To accomplish that JewishGen will hire a professional translator.

The project coordinator will select the order in which the chapters will be translated and will work closely with the translator to ensure a grammatically correct and idiomatic translation. Those who donate money to the project will be given the opportunity to select the chapters of interest for priority in translation. Specific tasks the project coordinator will perform include proofreading, editing, and preparing the work for submission to the Yizkor Book Project.

The resulting translations will be posted, as they are completed, on the Yizkor Book Translations site at:

Estimated Cost

The estimated cost of the translation project is $12,000 to $15,000.


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Updated 7 Oct 2015 by LA