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Translation of
Zikhroynes fun unzer shṭeṭl Ṿerkhiṿḳe, Uḳraine

(Memories of our shtetl, Verkhivka [Verkhovka], Ukraine)


Project Leader: Lewis R Baratz
JewishGen Liason/Advisor: Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

This project is being initiated to fund the translation of a published volume of childhood memories of the shtetl Verkhikva, home to about 150 Jews and 100 Ukrainians on the eve of WWII. Many of the Jewish inhabitants were related by blood or marriage. When the author was born, c. 1900, there were approximately 250 Jews in the village. Many emigrated to the United States, mostly to New York City, between 1913 and 1924. This was not the only cause of the significant population loss. The pogroms of 1918-1920 and a typhus epidemic further affected the Jewish population. At the time of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany, most of the young men of Verkhivka were taken into the Soviet Army; a few others were able to escape to Uzbekistan. No Jewish residents who remained in the village are known to have survived WWII.

Presently, the volume has not been translated into English. Although not a comprehensive study, it profiles many of the residents alive in the early 20th century. Some of these persons are the great- and great-great grandparents of descendants living in the United States today. The purpose of this translation project is for these descendants and other interested readers to learn about their lives, physical descriptions, and to keep their memory alive. Lewis R. Baratz, the project imitator is a trained cultural historian, and will provide an introduction and additional commentary.

The goal is to thus provide a translation with commentary that will provide a glimpse into this lost world. Approximately 43 pages need to be translated from Yiddish. The translated text and commentary will be made available online on JewishGen.

Key Audiences

Descendants of the Jewish community Verkhivka who are interested in learning about their ancestral community and lost relatives and wish to contribute to the preservation of their heritage and making it accessible for future generations. Another key audience includes researchers around the world who are studying the history of Ukrainian shtetl like in the Pale of Settlement.

Project Importance

This collection of memories are a unique source of information on this shtetl, whose entire remaining Jewish population was killed by Einsatzgruppe D in a single day. The names of the lost are recorded at the Yad Vashem. The physical descriptions of the inhabitants of the early 20th century, as well as their kinship, are, unfortunately, the only tangible secondary source, as the entire immigrant generation has passed away.

Project Description

As funds become available, Yiddish sections will be translated into English according to importance, by a professional translator. The project coordinator will review the translation and work closely with the translators. Lewis R. Baratz will add and introduction and commentary prior to publications.

Estimated Cost

A full translation is currently estimated to cost $2,000. Lewis' time contribution as editor and his commentary will be gratis.


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