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Translation of the
Memorial Book of Jewish Dinov

(Dynów, Poland)

 

Project Leader: Nina Isadora Talbot
JewishGen Liason/Advisor: Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

This project is being initiated in order to fund the translation of the Memorial Book of Jewish Dinov. A translation of some portions of the book (table of contents and 2 stories; 'The Road of Suffering' and 'From the Distant Past') have already been translated and are on JewishGen.

The book is divided into Hebrew and Yiddish and contains many photographs. An earlier Dinov Yizkor book, The 1949/50 Yizkor book, edited by David Moritz, published in New York has been translated into English already, and is primarily the survival story of David Moritz. In addition to survivor stories, the 1979 Yizkor book contains stories from before WW2, writings on personalities from the town and literature by the well know writer and humorist Yakov Adler (B. Kovner).

Key Audiences

Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots to Dynów and its region constitute the primary audience for the material. There are currently 77 researchers currently registered in the JewishGen Family Finder seeking families in Dynów. 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 and Ukrainian gentiles (Dynów was on the border of German and Russian occupied lands during WW2) with an interest in the Jewish community of Dynów or the general history of Dynów 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. They also contain first-hand accounts of the events of the Holocaust related to the specific town. The necrologies and lists of residents are of tremendous genealogical value, as often the names of individuals who were taken to extermination camps, murdered in mass executions, or died in the forests are not recorded elsewhere.

Dinov (in Polish-Dynów) is located south-east of the city of Rzeszow and west of the city of Przemysl, Poland. On September 15, 1939,the first day of Rosh Hashanah the Nazis invaded and massacred some 400 Jews, then about a third of the population. The San River abounding Dinov was the boundary between the German and Russian occupied territories until the end of WW2.

The shtetl Dynow has a rich history of Jewish life. Many years ago it was an important center of Torah learning and Hassidism then it was suddenly destroyed. All Jewish signs disappeared; even the tombstones at both Jewish cemeteries were destroyed by the vandals. Only a small number of survivors existed after WW2, most of them having escaped across the San and winding up in Siberia in labor camps.

The famous Chassidic Rabbi Tzwi Elimelech settled in Dynow after traveling extensively through various communities, notably Munkacz. His ohel also containing The Dinover Rebbe, Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech Spira, a famous rabbi from Dinov (1783-1841) was the founder of a Hasidic dynasty. He was also called The Bene Yiśaśkhar, after his popular book of the same title. Included in the dynasty is Rabbi Yehoshua of Dinov, a great Tzaddick, [man of wisdom] and student of the Rabbi of Berditchev. In turn Rabbi Yehoshua was a mentor to Tzvi Elimelech, the Dinover Rebbe.

The Dinover Rebbe's son was Rabbi Duvid The Tzaddick of Dinov, author of Tzemach Duvid. Both of these rabbis are buried in an Ohel [memorial gravesite] in the first Jewish Cemetery in Dinov. Also buried in the Ohel is Isaiah Naftali Hertz, the head of Bes Din [court] of Dinov, and Chana Mindel, wife of the Dinover Rebbe.

Survivors, descendants of survivors, as well as descendants of those who emigrated from Dynów prior to the war are known to exist in Israel, the United States, Argentina, and other countries.

This Yizkor Book is a major source for documented history of the town and its Jewish population, and will result in the creation of a primary English language source of information for anyone doing research on the town and its Jewish community.

Project Description

As funds become available, Hebrew and Yiddish pages will be translated into English by 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 donating funds to the project will be given the opportunity to select the chapters of interest for priority in translation. Photos from the Yizkor Book will be paired with captions and translations wherever possible.

Estimated Cost

A full translation is currently estimated to cost $7,000-$8,000.This estimate will be revised and refined as the project progresses.

 


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