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Translation of
Zinkov, Ukraine Yizkor Book

(Zinkiv, Ukraine)


Project Leader: Susan and Shawn Dilles
JewishGen Liason/Advisor: Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

This project is being initiated in order to fund the translation of “Zinkov Memorial Book” (Pinkas Zinkov: Gedenkbukh), Shmuel Aizenshtadt, Ed., Joint Committee of Zinkover Landsleit in the United States and Israel; Published in Tel Aviv and New York, 1966, 255 pages, (written in Hebrew, Yiddish, some English).

Zinkov is a small Ukrainian town located in the Letichev District of Podilia, later known as the Kamenetz-Podolski region. It is located at coordinates: 49°05'N 27°04'E. On one side of the town there were green hills rolling down to a most beautiful and picturesque valley with a winding river in the centre of it. On both sides of the river and as far as the eye could see were scattered a number of peasant villages. The little colorful huts could hardly be seen in the setting of their orchards and gardens. On the other side of Zinkov were seemingly endless stretches of wheat fields fringed on the far horizons with blue-green forests.

Against this backdrop Jews lived out their lives for centuries. The population in 1897 was 3,719, and in 1939 (after World War 1 and before the start of the Holocaust), it was 2,248. Life was not always secure, and there were humiliating, degrading laws and edicts of oppression and limitations. Jews were reduced to the level of second-class citizens and lived in fear of pogroms. World War I brought untold hardship, but after it had simmered down, some Zinkovers had a chance to emigrate to all corners of the world. Some escaped to the United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Palestine and many other countries wherever they were given asylum.

Jewish life and culture were almost completely destroyed during the years 1942-1943. Jews were massacred, synagogues and other institutions and their records were destroyed. Former residents of the town produced the Zinkov Memorial Book for their children and grandchildren to learn about the impact of the Holocaust on their families. They also wanted their descendents to know where their parents and grandparents came from and how they lived in their native hometowns and villages for many generations. This translation project is intended to help fulfill the Zinkover's intent by making their story accessible to the many English-speaking descendents of Zinkov residents.

Key Audiences

Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots in Zinkov constitute the primary audience for the material. However, the material has the potential to be of broader appeal to descendents of Zinkovers and scholars interested in the region or specializing in Jewish history and society.

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 émigrés 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, or both, these are not accessible to a wider audience. Thus, the Translation of these books into English unlocks this information to English speaking researchers all over the world. The JewishGen Yizkor Book Project received awards in 2002 and 2016 for its outstanding contribution to Jewish genealogy by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

Currently, there is very little information available to the English speaking world regarding Zinkov or its Jewish community. With the destruction of the Jewish community in Zinkov, and the aging of the original inhabitants that emigrated, the information in this Yizkor book constitutes nearly all of its documented history. This project will result in the creation of the primary English language source of information on the town and its Jewish community.

Project Description

This project is intended to result in the translation, from Hebrew and Yiddish to English, of the Zinkov Memorial Book. To complete the translation, JewishGen will hire a professional translator. The resulting translations will be posted, as they are completed, on the Yizkor Book Translations site at:

Estimated Cost

Completion of the translation of the book is estimated to cost $6000


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