Kolki, Ukraine Yizkor Book

Project Name. Translation of Kolki, Ukraine Yizkor Book

Project Leader
Brian J. Reiser

JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager: Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

Kolki is a town in the district of Łuck, located on the Styr River. During its history it has been part of Russia, Poland, USSR; today it is in Ukraine. There are records of a Jewish population in Kolki at least since the late 16th century.

One yizkor book has been written about Kolki, Fun Ash Aroysgerufn (Summoned from the Ashes), edited by Daniel Kac, and published by Czytelnik, Zydowski Instytut Historczny w Polsce in Warsaw in 1983. Written in Yiddish and not yet translated, the book is 399 pages long and consists of 37 chapters. It includes a hand-drawn map of Kolki and the surrounding region and 28 photographs that include a Kolki shul and various individual and group photographs of people from Kolki.

This project will support the services of a professional translator to translate the full book of Yiddish text. Translation will begin with the table of contents and figure captions, and then will proceed with the chapters of the book.

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 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, 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.

During WWI, in September 1915, Kolki was attacked and burned to the ground in fighting between Russian and German armies on the Styr River. The Jews of Kolki were dispersed. However, a portion of the Jewish population returned to rebuild under Polish rule, and the town began to grow again between the two world wars. The Germans entered Kolki in July 1941. Several months later Kolki became a ghetto and Jews from nearby towns as well as Kolki were confined in the ghetto and assigned to forced labor. In September and October 1942, the Germans murdered almost all the Jews in the Kolki ghetto. Only a group of 15 youths escaped to the nearby forest to fight as partisans. Some of the group survived to join the partisan fighters led by Sydir Kovpak. What was left of Kolki was liberated by the Russian army in 1944.

Jews from Kolki have settled in the U.S. and Israel. Kolker Jews formed communities in Baltimore and Philadelphia in the early 1900's. Yet little has been written about Kolki. There is nothing left today of the Jewish presence in the town. The Jewish cemetery site contains no remaining gravestones. The yizkor book contains one of the only remaining sources of information about the town. Translating it to English will make this resource available to many readers.

Project Description

The project goal is to put the translation of the full 399 pages of text online at Translation will begin with the table of contents and figure captions, and then will proceed with the text of the book.

To accomplish that 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: Costs are estimated at $8,000.


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Updated 20 Aug 2010 by LA