Proposal
Sokołów Podlaski, Poland Yizkor Book

Project Name. Translation to English of Yizkor Book Memorial book of Sokolov-Podlaski by M. Gelbart, 1962

Project Leaders
Bea Opengart and Alfred Opengart


JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

This project is being initiated in order to fund the Yiddish to English translation of this 816 page book for the JewishGen Yizkor library.

Based on an English translation of the Table of Contents, which can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/sokolowa_podlaski/sokolowa_podlaski.html, the book documents the history of the Jews of Sokolow-Podlaski, a small Jewish village located about 35 miles southeast of Warsaw, Poland.

Key Audiences

The Memorial book of Sokolow-Podlaski will interest people who have roots in Sokolow, and it will also interest scholars of pre-Holocaust Jewish Poland, the Holocaust, Polish history, and shtetl life, including its political, social, and educational organizations. With the recent opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, non-Jews in Eastern Europe may wish for access to first-hand accounts of a history that is also theirs, and this book will provide them. It is an important book that merits wide availability.

Project Importance

The memorial list and necrology that honor the memories of those who did not survive the Shoah enable readers to fulfill the commandment to remember and for this reason they are invaluable. So are the descriptive and narrative sections of the book that enable us to remember the culture from which we came and, through it, to know who we are. As those who survived the Shoah or heard about it from people who experienced it reach the ends of their lives, it is especially important that the details, the texture, of life as it was, be preserved.

Project Description

Many of the young Jewish men and women who immigrated to the United States from Sokolow-Podlaski in the early part of the twentieth century settled in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Israel. In New York and Chicago, they formed groups that met regularly to maintain contact with each other and the families they had left behind. Today, their first, second, and third generation descendants know little of their Polish heritage and even less about the small shtetl from which their relatives came. A primary purpose of this project is to fund the translation of the Memorial book of Sokolow-Podlaski from Yiddish to English so that present and future generations of Sokolover descendants can learn about the lives, trials, and tribulations of their Polish forebears.

The first three hundred pages of the Memorial book of Sokolow-Podlaski, a section entitled “The Old Home,” contain numerous vignettes of life as it was lived in Jewish Sokolow for centuries. The vignettes feature particular people and incidents, and so give an authentic sense of the town. This section also includes information about political groups and civic organizations, including the loan and burial funds that were fundamental to Jewish communal life.

The remainder of the Memorial book of Sokolow-Podlaski is a yizkor book; five hundred of the book's 816 pages are taken up with narratives about the destruction of the Sokolow ghetto, survival and death in concentration camps, survival in the forest, and life in the French Resistance, among other contexts which provided Soklovers haven. Twenty closely printed pages comprise a list of those murdered during the Shoah, another section contains eulogies to individuals whose survivors wanted to remember them in writing, and yet another section includes sponsored yizkor notices.

Estimated Cost.

The project is intended to result in an English version of Memorial book of Sokolow-Podlaski book for the Jewish Genealogy Yizkor Library. The Project Coordinators will work closely with the translator to ensure grammatically correct and idiomatic translation. As the translation proceeds, sections will be posted as they are completed on the Yizkor Book Translation site at JewishGen. The cost of the project is estimated to be $18,000.


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Updated 25 Jul 2014 by LA