Slonim, Belarus Yizkor Book

Project Name: Translation of Slonim, Belarus Yizkor Book

Project Leader:
Zvi Shefet

JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager: Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

This project is being initiated in order to fund the translation of the four volume yizkor book set of the Memorial book of Slonim which was edited by the historian of the community, Kalman Lichtenstein. The volumes were published in Tel Aviv between 1962 and 1979, and are in Hebrew & Yiddish.

Key Audiences

Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots in Slonim constitute the primary audience for the material. However, the material has the potential to be of broader appeal to 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, 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.

Slonim is a town in the Grodno region of Belarus. Historically, it was strategically important being that it was located on the main Warsaw-Moscow road. It was surrounded by extensive forests of pine trees that were used in the building industry, carpentry and heating. There were four sawmills in the town, all of which were under Jewish ownership and they supplied timber products locally and for export. Indeed, a large proportion of the Jewish community in trades and professions related to the timber industry.

The Jewish community was 75% of the town's population, and was the stimulus behind its development and prosperity in peaceful times. The first indications of a Jewish community there are from the 13th century. It was a community comprised of well know personalities and rabbis and the yeshiva there was also renown throughout Russia and Central Europe.

The Jewish community of Slonim was liquidated in 1942 by the German Nazis and their helpers leaving it “Judenrein” – bereft of Jews.

Project Description

As funds become available, all Hebrew and Yiddish pages will be translated. To accomplish that JewishGen will hire a professional translator. The project coordinator will select the order in which the chapters will be translated 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: $10,000


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Updated 25 Nov 2009 by LA