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[Page 771]


Tombstone in Shoah Cellar Mount Zion Jerusalem
Tombstone in Shoah Cellar Mount Zion Jerusalem


[Pages 778 - 777]


You had the privilege to be born in a free state. The past of your parents is unknown to you. It might even sound strange to you the name of their old home town overseas.

Our “Memorial-Book” in which your parents took a great part, tells us about everything, that has a connection with Sokolka, a little town - not for from Bialystok and Grodno. It was a typical town as hundreds similar tiny Jewish communities in Poland.

Everything was so simple, so primitive, but there was beauty in that life too.

The Sokolka Jews were very religious; they had their synagogue life and the holy Sabbath that made them forget their worries and struggles of all week long.

There were many scholars and enlightened people in Sokolka. The education was traditional, the boys learned in a “Cheder” and some of them, the brighter ones, in the “Yeshivoth”. Girls learned the Prayers, some of them took Hebrew and Russian lessons from the local teachers.

There was no social life in Sokolka in those days.

The youth was not satisfied, as they did not see any “future”, any chances to progress in such a small place; they were dreaming of the “large” world and they were eager to go away.

Merchants, as well as workers tried hard to make a living. They traded with the “Goyim” the gentile farmers of the surrounding villages; they lived up to their profits and conceptions.

Characteristic for the Sokolka Jews was their hospitality. They gladly shared their meals with the hungry ones. They donated according to their means; everybody was willing to help a man in-need.

The first institution — a library — established in Sokolka about 1906 by a group of the Progressive Youth. The library became the centre of their life. From time to time amateurs staged theatrical performances for the library's benefit.

During the First World War the social and cultural life in Sokolka has been changed remarkably. The youth was yearning for education and progress. Various groups and political parties, Zionist and Revolutionary, as well, have been formed about that time. But the Sokolka Jews, in general, were Zionists and they have been dreaming of Zion all their life long.

We have written this book especially for the young generation, for our children in Israel and for you in America. The Sokolka “Memorial Book” is your Book as well.

Do honour it and read it.

Remember the martyrs of Sokolka!

The Editorial Committee

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