Community of Korets Yizkor Book

Project Name Translation Korets (Wolyn); sefer zikaron le-kehilatenu she-ala aleha ha-koret, (The Korets book; in memory of our community that is no more)

Project Coordinator
Dr. Jeffrey Mark Paull

JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager: Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

This project is being initiated in order to fund the translation of the 791-page Yizkor Book for Korets. This book is almost entirely written in Hebrew. At present, a partial English translation has been completed by Yocheved Klausner for 14 of 128 separate sections of the book. The objective of the project is to provide a complete English translation of the Korets Yizkor Book to JewishGen.

Korets (50°37' / 27°10') is a town in the Rivne Oblast in Ukraine. The town is located on the Korchyk river, 66 kilometers (41 miles) to the east of Rivne, 61 kilometers (38 miles) northwest of Polonne, 41 kilometers (26 miles) northeast of Slavuta, and 56 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Ostroh. It is the administrative center of the Korets Raion. As of 2001, the population of Korets was 8,649.

Korets was home to an ancient Jewish community. It is not far from Medzhybizh, the ancestral home of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chassidism. Rabbi Pinchas of Korets was a member of the Baal Shem Tov's inner circle, and he was entrusted with the care and upbringing of the Baal Shem Tov's son. According to legend, the Baal Shem Tov once said of Rabbi Pinchas, “A soul such as his comes along only once every 500 years.” Rabbi Pinchas was a descendant of the illustrious Shapiro rabbinical lineage, which traces its ancestry back to Rashi, and from which many Ashkenazi Jews trace their descent.

The Korets Yizkor book was edited by Elieser Leoni, and published in Tel Aviv in 1959. It contains major sections on the Early History of Korets, Memories and Ways of Life, Education and Art, Economy, Institutions and Organizations, The Zionist Movement and the Youth Movements, Rabbis and Poets (including a chapter on Rabbi Pinchas of Korets), Figures and Personalities, The Holocaust, Korets after Destruction, and the Names of the Korets Jews who Perished in the Holocaust. The book also contains many photos and illustrations, and an index of names.

Translated portions of the book are currently available online at the following link:

The book in its original Hebrew format is available online at the New York Public Library at:

Key Audiences

Jewish historians exploring the roots of Chassidism and Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots in Koretz or to the Shapiro rabbinical lineage constitute the primary audience for the material. Holocaust researchers and scholars researching Jewish history in this region comprise another target audience for 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 emigres 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, yizkor books 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. In 2002, the JewishGen Yizkor Book Project received the award 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 the historical Jewish community of Korets. With the destruction of the Jewish community of Korets, the information in this yizkor book constitutes a significant portion of its documented history, and undoubtedly contains information that is not available anyplace else. This project will result in the creation of the primary English language source of information for anyone doing research on Korets and its Jewish community.

Project Description

This project is intended to result in the translation, from Hebrew to English, of the Korets 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 accurate 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 JewishGen Yizkor Book Translations site.

Estimated Cost

The Korets Yizkor book consists of 791 pages of text, of which approximately 90 pages (about 11 percent) have already been translated. The estimated cost is between $17,500 and $21,000 for the remainder of the book (approximately 700 pages) to be translated. JewishGen will be responsible for paying the translator(s), and donations to the fund will be tax-deductible for U.S. citizens.


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Updated 1 Oct 2012 by LA