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Gostynin, Poland Yizkor Book

Project Name Translation of the “Gostynin Memorial Book” Pinkas Gostinin

Project Coordinator
Jessie Weistrop Klein

JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

This project is being initiated in order to fund the completion of the translation into English of the 358-page “Yizkor Book of Gostynin”(Poland) for JewishGen. Published in 1960 in New York, the book was edited by Y.M. Biderman. Translated portions of the book are currently available online at the following link:

The book is rich with photographs and includes personal reflections about life in Gostynin before WWII and during the Holocaust. The original book is online at the NY Public Library at the following link:

Key Audiences

Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots in Gostynin constitute the primary audience for the material. However, the material has the potential to be of broader appeal to scholars interested in Jewish history and culture in this region.

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.

The oldest notation concerning the Jewish community of Gostynin dates to the 15th century. By the 1800's, Jews played an important role in trade and manufacturing in Gostynin. Gostynin was also an important Hasidic center in the 19th century. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a socialist party existed in Gostynin. Prior to the outbreak of WWII, there were approximately 2,239 Jews living in Gostynin.

This project will result in the creation of the primary English language source of information for anyone doing research on Gostynin and its Jewish community. The necrology section contains pictures of former residents with captions. There is also a map of the town. Chapters contain information on such topics as: religious leaders, community life, youth organizations, JDC activities and personal remembrances.

Project Description

This project is intended to result in the translation, from Yiddish to English, of the Gostynin yizkor book. 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 JewishGen.

Estimated Cost

The estimated cost of this project is $9,000


Updated 16 NOV 2012 by AG

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