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[Hebrew pages Zayin - Ches ז - ח]
[Yiddish pages Tes - Yud”Alef ט - י”א]
[English pages Yud”Beis - Yud”Gimel י”ב - י”ג]

A Burial Place and a Memorial

M. Grossman

Typed up by Genia Hollander

Books that are graves, tomes that are tombs.

Not only were our nearest and dearest murdered, cut to pieces and destroyed, but their graves were also swept away. Those who were shot, gassed, burnt and violated – they have no graves. In Kurov, the graveyard of our forefathers was also destroyed. For long centuries, they had passed away and been brought for burial; until the year 1939 and the advent of Hitler. But the Christians of Kurov and the surrounding countryside took the tombstones of the Jewish cemetery and used them as grindstones or as lintels and doorsteps for their homes. They ploughed up the bones that lay in the graves and mixed them with the soil; and on the site of the graveyards they sowed wheat and oats; and there they planted potatoes.

The graves and toms of the ten preceding generations were torn out by their roots and reduced to nothing. And all those of our brethren who were tortured and tormented by the Germans, with the aid of Poles and Ukrainians, now lack that place of rest which is the ultimate borne of all mortals. Even their bones were ground up and used as manure, in a last shameful and total annihilation. And, therefore, it is all the more necessary to keep the thought of them green in our hearts, our souls and our memories.

They will remain more secure and firmly set in our memories if their violated and no longer existent graves and tombs find a resting place in a book. It is, indeed, only in such a Yiskor Book, such a Memorial Volume, the lost and slain may find their final resting place; their grave and their tombstone.

In these memoirs and reminiscences of the few who were delivered, we read of the young folk of Kurov fleeing from their pursuers through the fields, concealing themselves in the woods and forests, feeling the approach of their inevitable destruction, carving their names on the trees; in the senseless hope that some Jews would succeed in remaining alive, and one day or another, would chance to read the name of one of their suffering host.

Kurov Jews spoke to one another only a few moments before they were shot, and agreed that if even a single one survived the massacres, he would come to the graves of the others and shout down to them, proclaiming the end of Hitler; crying aloud that the end of the Murderer had come, and a day of settlement.

No graves have been left of all those who were slain. And, furthermore, the surviving Kurov Jews will not be found on Kurov soil in Poland.

[Columns Yud”Dalet - Tet”Vav י”ד - ט”ו]

That is why the surviving Kurov folk from all over the world, and particularly the appreciable number of Kurov people in the liberated State of Israel, have now come together, all of us, young and old, men and women; and we cry out to you, in your wailing, wandering, never–resting souls.

“Beloved and precious martyrs of Kurov, we bring you to burial today! In a Yiskor Book, a Memorial volume! Today, we have set up a tombstone in memory of you”.

“Today, our hearts and our thoughts establish a covenant with the memory of you all. Never to forget you until the end of our days.

“This Yiskor Book appears in Israel and it means that, in a sense, we have brought you to a Jewish grave, after the custom of Israel.

“Your name, recorded forever in this Yizkor Book, will be passed on to ‘Yad Vashem': The Memorial Institution in Jerusalem. And the State of Israel grants you a last tribute of honorary citizenship”.

Kurov may be proud of her heroes, both those who were slain with the usual torments that were meted out to the passive martyrs, and those others who fought in the woods and forests as partisans and vengefully destroyed the German murderers, shooting to the last and then, to escape the polluted Nazi claws, killed their own selves with hand grenades, as was done by the partisan Hayyim Rosenson, may God avenge his blood; and by Eliezer Wurman, may God avenge his blood, who was still fighting against the Germans in the woods a few hours before liberation, only to fall at the very last moment.

Let us remember Simeon Ellenbogen, the liberated partisan, who went with his rifle in to the village of Luen near Markuszow to take vengeance on the slayers of his wife and child, and was murdered there himself.

And with special pride, let us bear in mind such one as Elka Zuckerman, who might have saved her life at the price of submitting to the lust of the Volksdeutsche son of Ulrich, but spat in his face and being shot the following day.

This is a great day for all Jews from Kurov throughout the world. We have completed our Memorial Volume which has taken us two full years. Let us stand today; mourning, by the open graveside of the two thousand and eight hundred Kurov Jews, may Gold avenge their blood. In our thoughts and aloud, let us repeat Yizkor and recite the Kaddish:

Yitgadal Veyitkadash, Shmei Rabbo! Increased and hallowed be God's great Name!

 

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