Miedzyrzec Podlaski, Poland Yizkor Book

Project Name. Translation of Miedzyrzec Podlaski Yizkor Book

Project Leader
Jamie Kotler

JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager: Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

Before World War II, about 12,000 Jews lived in Miedzyrzec Podlaski, a town approximately 60 miles southeast of Warsaw. The town's Jewish population was decimated during the Holocaust, and two yizkor books commemorating the town subsequently were prepared. The first, in Yiddish, was published in Argentina in 1952. The other, prepared by former residents of the town, is the 821-page Sefer Mezritsh; lezeykher di kduyshim fun undzer shtot, (Mezritsh book, in memory of the martyrs of our city), edited by Binem Heller and Yitzhak Ronkin, written in Hebrew and Yiddish, and published in Israel in 1978. This proposal is to translate the second book into English. In 2002 JewishGen received permission from the landsmanschaft in Israel to put the translation on the JewishGen web site. However, in order to translate this large volume, 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.

Also known as Mezeritch or Mezeritz D'Lita, Miedzyrzec Podlaski had Jewish residents from the mid-17th century. The population, reputed to be about 12,000 just before World War II, was decimated during the Holocaust. About 4,000 Jews from Nassielsk, Pultusk, Rupiti and Serock were forced to settle in the town, which became a transit ghetto to Treblinka under Action Reinhard. In 1940 about 1,000 were sent from Slovakia, Cracow, Mlama, and Mielec to Miedrzyrec Podlanski, which was on a main railway line to Treblinka. All who were sent to Treblinka perished. In 1944, 129 survivors were counted from this town. Organizations of former residents are still active in Israel, Argentina, and the United States.

Project Description

None of this book has been 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. $30,800


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Updated 14 Mar 2009 by LA