Dombroven, Bessarabia Yizkor Book


Project Name Translation of Hayoh, hayetah, 'ayarah monagraf iyah tsiyurit al ayarati Dumbrovan (There Once was a Town ;– A descriptive Monograph of the Town of Dombroven)

Project Coordinator

JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager: Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

This project is being initiated in order to fund the translation of the 90-page Yizkor Book for Dombroven. The book is written in Hebrew with the same content in Yiddish (198 pages total). The goal is to provide a complete English translation of the book to JewishGen.

Dombroven (Dumbrăveni) is located in the district of Soroca, about 8 miles southwest of Soroca. Today Dumbrăveni is a part of Vadeni community, in the Soroca district of Moldova. Dombroven were founded in 1836 by 24 Jewish families who moved there from Podolia, Ukraine. From 1836 until the full destruction on July 12 of 1941 Dombroven was the site of the first successful Jewish agricultural colony in Bessarabia. There used to live 1874 Jews in 1887. By 1930, the Jewish population had decreased to 1,198.

Published in 1973 in Jerusalem, the book was written and edited by Khaim Toren. The original book is online at the NY Public Library at the following link: Dumbraveny (1973). The second Yizkor book about Dombroven edited by Khaim Toren and published in Jerusalem in 1974 “Sefer Dombroven; ner-zikaron la-moshava ha-haklait ha yehudit ha-rishonah be-Bessarabia” is now in the process of translation at site

Key Audiences

Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots in Dombroven 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.

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 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 Dombroven 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.

Project Description

This project is intended to result in the translation, from Yiddish to English, of the Dombroven 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 at

Estimated Cost



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Updated 7 May 2012 by LA