|Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.|
|The Lamentations of Jeremiah 1:12|
The Editorial Board of the Jaroslaw Memorial Book
Translated by Selwyn Rose
In awe and compassion, we present this Memorial Book of the Jaroslaw community to the survivors of the town in Israel and abroad.
This Memorial book is about one of the oldest and most magnificent communities in Poland to be annihilated by the Nazi terror.
Generations distant and recent look out at us from the pages of this book; generations of Jews, masters of varied talents: rabbis, great Torah scholars, intellectuals and leaders of the Zionist movements and the wider public whose light shone forth for centuries in the community of Jaroslaw and beyond.
Jaroslaw was a dynamic and effervescent town full of life. Within it flourished loyal Jews, scholars, businessmen and simple people who grew up with a deep love for Zion.
Jewish Jaroslaw! You were our town and mother, a town within which was formed and cast a mode of life and a special way of life out of which burst the desire and ambition to present an example of excellence and a spiritual center of the region. Your citizens shaped your character, injecting western culture and the modern life of those times. You were a city of industry and commerce, Torah and education. A proud generation grew within you, a selfconfident generation full of understanding, a generation imbued with ambition towards nationalism and humanitarianism.
That wonderful structure was destroyed and laid to waste.
From within the pages of this book, emerge forgotten images and yesterday is resurrected. We have described the lifestyle of the residents. We tell of the values on which they were educated and have tried to give a picture of prayerhouses, educational establishments, youth movements and political parties. We have tried to erect and recreate chapters from the life of the town, the material, the spiritual, and the creative.
We do not pretend to say that we have succeeded in illustrating the whole canvas of Jewish life in Jaroslaw, the individual's lifeevents and deeds. They did not come to full expressions, either because no one could tell about them or because of the scope of the book. At the same time, we ensured that the book would include and illustrate all the layers of Jewish Jaroslaw its movements and social streams from the beginnings of the community's existence until its destruction. We also ensured that all documents, lists, registrations and surveys were authenticated to every possible extent.
Nevertheless, in spite of our greatest efforts we failed to find documentation for several personalities and institutions, organizations and societies that had occupied a significant standing within the Jewish community of Jaroslaw. May the positives atone for the negatives.
In this book, a special place is devoted to extensive articles on special and unforgettable periods in the life of the Jaroslaw community, as well as short lists of the survivors of the Jaroslaw community who put on paper their longings for a continuance of their destroyed families and the exterminated community.
May this book be an Eternal Flame of remembrance to the pure martyred souls.
Translated by Susan Rosin
This memorial book is late in coming to print. Many communities were able to memorialize their destroyed towns in monuments and in books. We were concerned that if we do not make this effort to publish a book, we will lose our last chance to memorialize our town, and there will be no trace to one of the more magnificent Poland's communities. Jews lived in our town for at least 600 years, the Synod of the Four Lands was located in our town. There were famous scholars and leaders, and at times the Jews of our town represented the entire Polish Jewry.
The work on this book was not easy. The material for the book was collected thanks to the efforts and persistence of many. Originally, we turned to our town's people and asked them to provide us with articles, memoirs, and journals.
Admittedly, there was little response. People rationalized their refusals due to forgetfulness, others promised to write and did not do so. Among the hundreds, only a few submitted material that was determined to be suitable for the memorial book of our town. The materials were written in Polish, English and Yiddish. Therefore there was an effort to translate it correctly and faithfully into Hebrew.
The truth is that the few memoirs were written with deep love and respect for our beautiful town. From the written material it can be seen that our town's people had great memories of their childhood in our town and proudly wrote about their town.
The Jaroslaw book mainly looks at the Jewish life of our town in the last 50 60 years. There is not much information about the Jewish life before the First World War and describes very little of the life during World War Two under the Nazi occupation.
Jaroslaw Jews were expelled from the town across the San River during the first weeks of the occupation. When Poland was occupied, the San River was the border between the German and Soviet zones.
Since the expulsion, the fate of Jaroslaw Jewry can be described as individuals and not as a community. Their fate was the same as those in the different towns and villages where our town's people found temporary refuge.
Therefore, the book does not describe memoirs from the Nazi occupation era. Mainly it describes events during the short period before the expulsion, and later the fate of those that found themselves in various areas of the Soviet Union and with the anti-Nazi partisans.
May this book serve as a holy testimony to what was once Jewish Jaroslaw. May this book be a memorial to the glorious community of Jaroslaw. May the next generations find some of the Jewish reality, its beauty, its splendor and its grace.
It is our pleasure to express our gratitude to the main contributors that made this effort possible:
Moshe (Mundek) Hebenstreit Chairman of the Tel Aviv branch of the organization of former residents of Jaroslaw. He worked enthusiastically and tirelessly to make this book a reality. He collected the material for the book and organized it. He contributed many articles himself and actively participated in the meetings and consultations. His efforts throughout the years are a major contribution to the successful completion of the book.
Moshe Kalchheim Who has a phenomenal memory; He remembers all details and events of the public life in our town and even everyday occurrences. He himself wrote many of the articles in the book. He dedicated much of his time to the effort to bring the book to print, and his comments and corrections can be seen throughout the pages of the book. Without his help, we would not be able to have the accuracy of the facts and events in our book.
Special thanks to Mr. Dov (Berek) Fruchtman for translating many articles and his help in bringing the book initiative to fruition. He too wrote articles and was instrumental in the actual publication of the book.
We should note with gratitude Reiska Kostman and Asher-Simcha Graff who dedicated time and efforts to bring the book initiative to a successful completion.
We remember the late Josef Narzisenfeld, who was one of the first people to initiate the book idea.
We are grateful to our town's native
Rabbi Moshe Steinberg Rabbi of Kiryat Yam for his generous consent to include in the book his comprehensive article about the history of Jaroslaw's Jews.
The organization is grateful to Mr. Josef Plant and Mr. Avraham Kenigsberg for their efforts among the Haifa residents to bring the book to a successful completion.
And finally we are indebted to Mr. Yitzhak Alperowitz - the book editor - for his efforts and talents to bring the book to print in a nice and pleasant format.
Special thanks to all those in Israel and abroad - that helped making the publication of this book possible.
May this book me a testament for eternal memory.
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