Translated by Deborah Schultz
Thirty-six years have passed from the day they returned, Kalush liberated from the soldiers of Hitler. This was on 1st August 1944. To the eyes of a small group of Jewish residents of the city and the neighborhood people broken and afraid, who emerged from their hiding places and came to see what remained from their community to them the extent of the destruction first was revealed. The city stood upon its hill; however, of the community of Jews who had dwelled in it until the Nazi conquest, only a few persons remained. Three years the German enemies controlled Kalush. Only 15 months were sufficient for them to destroy in cruelty the lives of the majority of the Jewish inhabitants, and to erase from the face of the area each thing on which a Jewish stamp had been sunk. The city and the People Israel who are her foundations, laid down more than 400 years ago a holy community, in which during the course of generations thousands of Jews lived and worked: merchants and craftsmen, people of piety and people of action, rabbis and Torah scholars there is nothing left from it but an old graveyard, which for maximum pain was also destroyed almost entirely in the years which followed.
From the day they returned, the survivors of the flight from the community of Kalush reached the end of their trust. The majority of them made aliyah [immigrated to the Land of Israel] with an aspiration nestled in their heart to raise a monument of remembrance for their community and Zion, for the thousands of their fellow townsmen who were destroyed in the days of the terrible Holocaust. Sometimes a few from the Kalush Society in Israel undertook publication of a book of remembrance, but whenever the occasion, the matter was postponed to different get-togethers.
Meanwhile, years passed by, and the number of the former residents of Kalush was reduced; already, apparently, the summer of the idea of the book ended because of this. However, a feeling of obligation towards the martyrs, and towards the community that was destroyed, did not give any rest. Even though few were remaining, and as a matter of fact necessarily because of that, we again took upon ourselves the task, in the beginning of the year 1978. We began in gathering material from among former residents of our city in Israel, together with our brothers in the United States, preparing within a short time the book presented now to read.
We know that our enterprise is not perfect and that it does not answer for all demands and expectations. The words given in the book in truth are the responsibility of their authors; nevertheless, the editors endeavored for truth, to the extent possible, in their contents, and to match among them. Despite this, the book is not free from duplications, inaccuracies, and even small concealments here and there. The existence of these and others flows first of all from the character of a book that was written by numerous hands, whose pen in general is not the pen of an author. The many years that had passed from the destruction of Kalush, and our aspiration to complete the enterprise in a short time, also did not make the work any lighter for us. Yet with all this, great is our faith that in our producing the book we set up a memorial for our destroyed community and we lit an eternal light to remember our martyrs. Our hope is that the book will serve, for descendants of the Jews of Kalush, as a reliable source for acquaintance with the rock from which they were quarried.
The book is comprised of two parts, Hebrew and Yiddish, as well as a modest supplement in the English language. The material for the Hebrew part was gathered and edited in Israel; the Yiddish part was edited by our fellow townsman, Mr. Moshe Etinger, in the United States.
May gratitude and blessing come to all those who assisted us whether by contributing to the book from the fruit of their pen, narrating from their memories and handing over testimonies and photographs; or by contributing financially to the printing of the book. Special gratitude is given to Mr. Shabtai Unger, who took great pains in editing the Hebrew part of the book, from initial anxiety, to its final proper height.
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