[Page 8 - Hebrew] [Page 9 - Yiddish]
Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp
At the gate of the book we see a need for a few words of apology about a few points that are likely to arouse wonder and questions from the side of the native reader of our city:
We are especially distressed about the lack of completeness of the list of the names of the slain in the great Shoah. Despite all our efforts, we did not succeed in assembling a complete list, although a few times forms were distributed among all the children of Lida to list their relatives and acquaintances who were slain in the days of the Shoah, many families were not included in this list, as they did not have anyone to lift up their names.
For the things that were known to us, we have apologized. And for those things that were unknown to us, and the discerning eye of the meticulous reader that reveals them: don't hold us to the depth of the literary law, for we did all that we did according to the best of our knowledge and ability.
[Page 10 - Hebrew[ [Page 11 - Yiddish]
Decades have gone by since the community of Lida was obliterated from the land of the living, and thousands of her children, our parents, our brothers and our sisters, were sentenced to annihilation at the hands of the bloody Nazi beast, amidst tortures and torments, which a person whose human senses have not dulled could speculate in their imagination. Decades have passed, but the pain is too great for time to be able to make it be forgotten.
A magnificent community in Israel became as if it had never been the community of Lida. Only the remains of a few ancient moss-covered stones at the edge of the city, placed inside a breached fence, a remnant of the ancient Jewish cemetery, still testified for a number of years about the number of generations of Jews who lived in this place until its holy stones became plunder to headstone thieves, who set them as the foundation of their houses. Only an engraved address in foreign writing on the back of one solitary gravestone which is surrounded by forest, at the other edge of the city, will tell a visiting passerby who happens there about the thousands of souls who were murdered in this place without mentioning that these were Jews. The affront is difficult.
With agitation of feelings we approached the arrangement of this book, which comes to place a hand and a name for Jewish Lida, the cradle of our childhood, for thousands of her sons and daughters, whose memory is precious and sacred to us. We gathered minute details, from within old writings, books, periodicals, articles, memorials, and scattered quotations, a tiny bit here, a tiny bit there. We assembled collections of testimony, fragments of memories and impressions, and line to line, reflection after reflection, the picture of the Lida community becoming more and more apparent before us. In it, from the time of the 16th century, and maybe even before that, was heard the voice of the Torah of Israel, a community that grew, put down roots, became a living cell, and even added its own hue within the great Lithuanian Jewry, which kept the special spiritual tradition and lofty traditional qualities that joined together in a unique way of life.
Jewish Lida! You were a mother city to us! A city that had everything in it: labor and handwork, factories and commerce, Torah and enlightenment, neighbors and friends, helping others, lofty national and personal ambitions. Indeed, there were also many divisions in Lida: each one saw the way to the revival of Israel and the redemption of humanity in his own way, and each one wove into his method the tractate and creation of his life. But one thing we knew, all of their eyes were towards the good and the lofty.
Even the sentence of the Judenrat was decreed, in the days of the Shoah and the destruction in most of the disintegrating Jewish communities. In Lida it was crowned with a crown of supreme bravery and devotion, the test of every soul.
We will remember all of you today with quaking and trembling. With your pure blood that was spilled you were sanctified to us!
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