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Translator's caveat

Using many of the different and accepted internet sources, and personal colleagues, every reasonable effort has been made to verify and locate the names of places and either the accepted English spellings or their local spelling, in Yiddish or Polish – or indeed, English itself, including the names of the people, contained within these pages. It is an accepted fact that – especially where eastern European names are concerned, the possible variations in spelling open to the conscientious western translator are many; this is exacerbated by the fact that Hebrew sources are written without the vowel points which in itself multiplies the options for pronunciation and give no help to the translator. On occasion a town name will be identified clearly in the lists but its location is some hundreds of kilometers away from where it “should be” and none of the suggested options is where we “want” it to be! This is due to the fact that many names of towns are duplicated, often tens of times, throughout the entire area of the (eastern) European continent.

Different writers refer to the same personalities by different names – formal or familiar, personal or nicknames, with honorifics or without, etc. and this again multiplies the search process and the time and effort to reach a definitive solution.

Where I have sought out and found a clear, unequivocal, verified name I have used either the Yiddish or local spelling, adding the diacritics where possible and identifiable.

In the memorial, necrological- and lists of survivors-pages, the names, again, are open to a large number of “English” variations; I have chosen to Anglicize all of them and use the conventional and recognizable English spelling.

In spite of all my attempts there are some tens of villages, towns or Shteitl names together with the names of some people, that have resolutely defied my attempts to locate, name or define sufficiently and convincingly enough for me to feel comfortable using them as-is without comment. Those names of people/places I have indicated in the text with a star*. A few, whose Hebrew spelling appears to leave little choice when seeking an English spelling, I have taken the liberty of simply transliterating phonetically. In many places local nicknames appear for locations and today these are impossible to verify owing to the passing of those associated with them, changes in topography and the simple passage of a hundred years or more. Others, themselves of direct and immediate east European origin, may succeed where I have failed.

My thanks are due to several people who assisted me in hunting down some of the names, most conspicuously Tomasz Kacer of Poland, Yochabed Klausner and Ada Holtzman of Israel and Elah Feder of Canada.

Others who were of great help:- Robert Shapiro; David Engel; Samuel D Kassow; Vincent Slatt; Clare Rosenson; Antony Polonsky; Jacek Nowakowski; Aleksandra Borecka; Alina Skibinska; Eleonora Bergman; Zvi Gitelman; Benton Arnovitz; Teresa Pollin; Robert Rozett.

All of whom are intimately connected with world institutions specializing in Jewish and Holocaust studies. My thanks to all of them.

One final point: the honored and honorable people who wrote these words used a style, lexicon and syntax from a literary world long gone: arcane, frequently spiritual and even lyrical – and that is how it should be. I have deliberately retained that style without attempting to modernize it. Who would dare to rewrite and paraphrase Dickens or claim the right to reduce the pain and love expressed here by defiling and banalizing the memories and feelings of these people?

Selwyn Rose (Kibbutz Bror Hayil, Israel – August-November 2011)

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