Capresti, Bessarabia Yizkor Book
Project Name Translation of Kapresht ayaratenu - undzer shtetele Kapresht; sefer zikaron le-kehila yehudit bje-Bessarabia, (KapreshtOur Village, Memorial Book for the Jewish Community of Kapresht)
JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager Binny Lewis
This project is being initiated in order to fund the translation of the 496-page Yizkor Book for Capresti. The longer of two Yizkor books created for Capresti, this book is almost entirely written in Yiddish, with some passages in Hebrew, and a smattering of Russian. The goal is to provide a complete English translation of the book to JewishGen. A translation of the skeletal portions of the book (table of contents, name list (necrology), and maps of the town with buildings and streets translated into English) already exist on JewishGen. Soon, a list of photographs will also be posted.
Capresti is located in the district of Soroca, about 55 miles northwest of Chisinau (Kishinev). In 1897 there were 866 Jews in Capresti. By 1930, the Jewish population had increased to 1,815. From 1853 until the passage of the May Laws of 1882, which barred Jews from settling in villages, Capresti was the site of a Jewish agricultural colony. After 1882, most of the 19 Jewish agricultural colonies of Bessarabia were disbanded, though Capresti remained the site of vineyards.
Published in 1980 in Haifa, the book was edited by M. Rishpy and Av. B. Yanowitz.
The book is rich with photographs and includes poetry, songs, paintings and sketches, as well as excerpts from documents in Hebrew and Russian. Translated portions of the book are currently online at http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/Capresti/Capresti.html. The original book is online at the NY Public Library at the following link: http://yizkor.nypl.org/index.php?id=1858.
Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots in Capresti constitute the primary audience for the material. However, the material has the potential to be of broader appeal to scholars interested in the region, especially the history of Jewish farming, or others specializing in Jewish history and society, including the Romanian Holocaust.
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 shot in the forests are not recorded elsewhere.
Usually written in Yiddish, Hebrew, or both, these are not accessible to a wider audience. Thus, the translation of these books into English unlocks this information to many more researchers all over the world. The JewishGen Yizkor Book Project received the award in 2002 for outstanding contribution to Jewish genealogy by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.
Currently, there is little information available to the English-speaking world regarding Capresti or its Jewish community. With the destruction of the Jewish community, the information in this yizkor book constitutes nearly all of its documented history. This project will result in the creation of the primary English language source of information for anyone doing research on the town and its Jewish community.
This project is intended to result in the translation, from Yiddish to English, of the Capresti yizkor book. The Project Coordinator will direct a fundraising effort for the translation and secure the services of the professional translators. The Project Coordinator will select the order in which to translate the book text and will work closely with the translators to ensure a grammatically correct and idiomatic 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.
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Updated 2 Apr 2012 by LA