Community of Zolochiv Yizkor Book

Project Name Translation of Zolochiv Yizkor Book

Project Leader
Dr. Liza Gold

JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager: Lance Ackerfeld

Project Description

The goal of this project is to fund an English translation of the 45 page Yizkor Book “Der Untergang fun Zloczow” [The Downfall of Zloczow], written by Zloczow native Szoljme Mayer. I've been told he is or was a journalist. This book is written, somewhat unusually, in Romanized Yiddish, and contains photographs and details of fate of Zloczow and its Jewish population during and after the Holocaust. Only two other copies of this book have been located: one at the University of Michigan, the other at the National Libarary of Israel. No English translation is available. Mayer published the book in 1947, while memories of the events of the previous years were still vivid. The objective of the project is to provide a complete English translation of the Szlojme Mayer's account, which will be made available to JewishGen.

Zloczow (now Zolochiv, Ukraine) (49°48'/24°54') is a town in the Lviv Oblast in Ukraine, the administrative center of Zolochiv Raion. The town is located 60 kilometers east of Lviv, and has a current population of 25,000 people. Zolochiv was incorporated as a town on 15 September 1523 of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. From the first partition of Poland in 1772 until 1918, Zloczow was part of the Austrian monarchy, in Austrian Galicia. The fate of this province was then disputed between Poland and Russia, until the Peace of Riga in 1921, attributing Galicia to the Second Polish Republic. Z³oczów belonged to the Tarnopol Voivodship until the Polish September Campaign in 1939, when it was occupied by the Soviet Union. Now, it is part of independent Ukraine.

Zloczow had a Jewish presence as of the mid-16th century. According the translation of the “Zloczow” chapter from Pinkas Hakehillot Polin, by 1565, a small Jewish settlement existed in Zloczow. In 1772, when the area was annexted to Austria, Zloczow became the capital of a district, which included eht learge community of Brody. Zloczow was the home of numerous artisans, tradesmen and notable rabbis. Between the two World Wars, Zloczow was a vibrant Jewish community.

After World War II broke out on September 1, 1939, many hundreds of Jewish refuges came to Zloczow from Western Poland. The Germans marched into Zloczow on 7/2/41. In the first days of the German occupation, the total number of Jewish victims reached as high as 5000. Mass killings resumed in late August 1942, when about 2,500 Jews were deported to the Belzec extermination camp. A second Aktion resulted in the the deportation of an addition 2,500 Jews in November 1942. A ghetto was established in December 1942, which held between 7,500 and 9,000 people, including many brought from nearby communities. It was liquidated in April 1943, and 6,000 people were taken to a nearby village and murdered in mass shootings. Several small resistance groups sheltered in the forest, but many of them were killed as well. The Red Army liberated Zloczow on July 18, 1944, but only a handful of Zloczow's Jews survived. Almost all of them soon left, and were scattered around the world.

Although more is known about the fate of Zloczow than about some other communities, Szlojme Mayer's short Yizkor book appears to provide an eyewitness account of the Holocaust, including details about his own friends, neighbors, family, and associates. It focuses on the events of the Holocaust from an individual and community perspective. Those who are survivors of the Zlochow community and even the next generation will know and remember the people whose names are found in this short account.

Key Audiences

Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots in this town.

Survivors, some of whom are still alive and living in Israel and the United States, who are interested in learning more about what happened in Zlochow.

Historians interested in Jewish organizations in the 19th and early 20th century, such as

  1. ·Yad Haruzim, an artisan's organization
  2. ·The Hassidic Movement: one for the first Hassidic leaders, Issachar Ber, lived in Zloczow.
  3. ·Jewish political activities and movements: Zloczow had branches of Zionist organizations, the Jewish Socialist Party, and Zloczow's Jews participated in Polish government
  4. ·Jewish social institutions: Zloczow operated a Jewish hospital, an old age home, and an orphanage. The Hochma V'haskala society, a center of cultural and secular activity, was active, as was the society Toynbe-Halle.

Project Importance

Yizkor books are unique sources of information on the history and ultimately the destruction of Jewish life in central and Eastern Europe. They bear witness to the loss and devastation, and in doing so, provide invaluable historical accounts of the atrocities of the Holocaust. Equally as important, they provide information about what life was like before the Holocaust, and help us remember a time before the destruction. Survivors and descendants of survivors can find information about their families and a way of life now lost. Historians find information about religious, cultural, economic, and political history that informs current understanding of our own world.

Unfortunately, yizkor books are not accessible to a wider audience. The translation of these books into English allows people from all over the world who may be interested in their own family genealogy, the history of the Holocaust, or the History of the Jews in Eastern Europe before and after the Holocaust, to easily access this information. The JewishGen Yizkor Book Project is providing a unique and invaluable resource for the Jewish community all over the world and for history. This project will result in the creation of the primary English language source of information for anyone doing research on Zloczow and its Jewish community.

Project Description

This project is intended to result in the translation, from romanized Yiddish to English, of the 45 page Yizkor book, “Der Untergang fun Zloczow” by Szlojme Mayer. The Project Coordinator will direct a fundraising effort for the translation and secure the services of the professional translators. The Project Coordinator will work with the JewishGen Yizkor Book Project in whatever way necessary to prepare the translated text for submission and posting on the Yizkor Book Translations internet site. The resulting translation will be posted, as they are completed, on the JewishGen Yizkor Book Translations site.

Estimated Cost

“Der Untergang fun Zloczow” by Szlojme Mayer is a 45 page book, of which 27 pages are full text, and 18 pages are partial or no text, or text as captions under photographs. A translator has been identified, who, after reviewing sample pages, feels she can undertake the project. Estimated cost is approximately $1000. JewishGen will be responsible for paying the translator, and donations to the fund will be tax-deductible for U.S. citizens.


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Updated 28 Sep 2013 by LA