Translation of
Kiliya: Book of Testimony and Memory, 1800–1970

Project Name. Kiliya: Book of Testimony and Memory

Project Leader
Ronald Killian

JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager: Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

This project is being initiated to provide an English translation and to recreate an approximation of the existing layout of the Yizkor book “Kilyah: sefer edut ve-zikaron”, or “Kiliya: Book of Testimony and Memory”, prepared in 1991 in Tel Aviv, Israel by the Kiliya Emigres Organization and edited by Liania Konstantinov. The 180-page book is almost entirely written in Hebrew and Russian, with some pages duplicated in both languages, and with a few pages in Romanian. This Yizkor book provides the world with personal memories and historic context for one of many hundreds of Jewish communities destroyed during the Holocaust. The Kiliya volume is unusual with its extensive photographic documentation, containing about 475 captioned photographs found throughout the document. The Kiliya, Ukraine Yizkor book is organized in 14 sections and includes 4 maps. Chapter topics include an historical introduction, coverage of community institutions and education; writers, artists, and Zionist activities; personal memories; the Holocaust; and immigration to Israel.

Main sections of text will be made available at this site after they are translated by professional translators and edited by professionals and volunteers under the direction of the Project Coordinator. The completed English translation/layout also will be available on the JewishGen Yizkor Translations site at

A copy of the original book may be viewed at:, to help those interested in supporting this project appreciate its special attributes and value in preserving the memory of the Jewish community of Kiliya and in providing valuable information for those individuals researching Kiliyan Jewish heritage.

Key Audiences

Jewish genealogists and decedents of the Jewish inhabitants seeking to trace their roots in Kiliya and the surrounding area constitute the primary audience for the material. However, the material has the potential to be of broader appeal to scholars interested in the lives of the Jews, their development, economically and culturally in this region.

Project Importance

Kiliya is a port city at the southernmost tip of Ukraine with a long, diverse, and international history. The city is located at N45°27'/ E29°16' on the Kiliya River, along the northern edge of the Danube River delta as it flows into the Black Sea. The city was founded by the Byzantines and named Chilia Veche (Stara Kiliya or “Older Kiliya”, with kiliya meaning “granaries” in Byzantine or “yellow [clay] coast” in Turkish), with its first known mention in 1241 Persian chronicles. It was founded by Stephen the Great of Moldavia to counteract Ottoman Empire control of the area. But evidence of settlement goes back at least to the 10th century ACE, and with Greek settlement as early as the 7th century BCE. The Ottomans recaptured the area in 1484 until conquered by the Russian army in 1790 during the Russo-Turkish War, and then returned briefly to the Ottomans until finally awarded to Russia in 1812. Later in the 1800s the city was transferred to Romania, then back to Russia and the Soviet Union in the 1900s, except during World War II, and most recently to an independent Ukraine in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Jewish Life: There is little detail about the history of Jewish life in Kiliya; all the more reason to provide an English translation of this historical document. It is known that Jews lived in the city at least from the 1800s, and about 2400-2500 Jews lived in the city between 1920 and1940. Unfortunately World War II brought a tragic end to the city's Jewish community, with those members who did not leave in time either murdered or scattered by German and Romanian troops between June and December 1941. This Yizkor book therefore is an invaluable document that has preserved many memories of the survivors of Kiliya and will help us to understand and appreciate better the culture and lives of the Kiliyan Jewish community, and to encourage further research and writing about this lost community.

Estimated Cost

The estimated cost of professional translation, editing, and re-creation in English of the original textual and photographic layout is $5,500. The LSI Foundation of Cambridge, Massachusetts has graciously pledged $2,325 in direct professional services toward completing the Russian and Romanian translations and the book's English translation layout. $3,175 in additional tax-deductible contributions are needed to meet the fundraising goal.


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Updated 18 Dec 2015 by LA