Lenin, Belarus Yizkor Book

Project Name. Translation of Lenin, Belarus Yizkor Book

Project Leader
Sanford A. Kaplan z”l

JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

Lenin is an old town with a Jewish presence for a minimum of 200 years. The cemetery and mass burial memorial are reasonably well-maintained thanks to a landsmanshaft still somewhat active in Israel. In 1957, former residents of Lenin published a 407-page yizkor book: Kehilat Lenin; Sefer Zikaron (The Community of Lenin; Memorial Book), Editors: M. Tamari, Tel Aviv, Former Residents of Lenin in Israel and in the USA, 1957 (H, Y, 407 pages). The book's Table of Contents, for both the Hebrew and Yiddish chapters, and about 40 Hebrew and 5 Yiddish, The Community Register (Lists of victims of the Holocaust and their Relatives) and 168 photographs and captions are now online at The work of volunteers. In order to translate the remainder of the book, JewishGen requires the services of a professional translator.

Key Audiences

Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots in this town constitute the primary audience for the material.  However, the material has the potential to be of broader interest to scholars specializing in Jewish history and society 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 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 Hebrew or Yiddish, these important books are not accessible to most users, who cannot read these languages. 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.

Lenin once had a thriving Jewish community involved in farming, lumber, and grain mills. At the start of World War II, the Jewish population of Lenin itself was 928. However, approximately 2,000 Jews in all resided in the region, including Lenin, Lachva, and other nearby villages. When the Ghetto was liquidated on August 14, 1942, 750 of those 2,000 Jews escaped to the woods in one of the first uprisings of the war. The rest were taken to prepared trenches and executed. Of those who escaped, most were unable to survive in the woods and gradually returned to their villages where they were found or betrayed and killed. About 150 individuals, most of whom joined had joined the partisans, survived the war. There are no known Jewish residents in Lenin today.

Project Description

Approximately 65 pages of Hebrew text and 88 pages of Yiddish remain to be translated and put online at To accomplish that JewishGen will hire a professional translator. The project coordinator selects the order of the chapters to be translated. To accomplish the translation, JewishGen will hire a professional translator. The project coordinator will select the order in which to translate the chapters and will work closely with the translator 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.

Estimated Cost. $4,600


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Updated 22 Feb 2012 by LA