In the dreadful summer months of the year 1942, when the German mass-murderers were each day shooting, burning and gassing thousands of Polish Jews; in the fateful days after the Yuden action in Kittev when I myself wasn't sure about the next day, I resolved that as long as I still lived, to record the appalling events. I began to write the record, the daily events and experiences of Kittev and the surrounding cities and towns, according to the authentic reports we received from those places.
One of the main reasons that moved me to record all these bloody events was my then naïve belief that the great democratic world had no idea of what was happening, because if they did know what the Germans were doing, they would surely employ all means to stop the horrible destruction-work of the Nazis, their murderous actions against the innocent Jews. All Polish Jews shared this belief, as did the Jews of our city, Kittev.
Since nobody believed that any Jew could be saved from the bloody talons of the Nazi evil beast and the Ukrainian murderers, that he might be able, after the war, to appear as a living witness and accuse the mass-murderers before the world tribunal, I resolved to make my modest contribution to the history of the German murder-actions that they should not be forgotten. I employed every free minute and wrote down every day what we experienced until the complete destruction of Kittev and her Jews.
I wished to ensure that what was written should not be lost. In those months, weeks and days when I and my family were hiding in the cold, damp and dark cellars, under red-hot tin roofs on the attics, days when our lives hung by a hair, I turned over this book with its glowing Yiddish letters to a Polish acquaintance and asked him, in case we will perish, to send the notebooks to my sister and brother-in-law in America.
This year will be sixteen years since the great people -destruction of our city. The Jews of Kittev were destroyed. I and my family were saved from the murderous hands through a miracle. We had the privilege of coming to the great and free America and here to start a new and free life. However, the atmosphere here of commotion and tumult could not cause me to forget the tragic past. I felt that I would not be able to go on peacefully with a normal life in the new home for me and my family as long as I would not have fulfilled my debt towards the martyrs of Kittev. I resolved to erect a written gravestone, a monument of the word to the beautiful and creative life of the Jewish city Kittev; to tell how the Kittever Jews lived and how they perished.
Five full years I collected the needed materials for this Yizkor book. Every free minute virtually day and night, my thoughts were occupied with the sacred work. I strove to give an all-round picture of the creative life of the Kittever Jews.
The second section of the Yizkor Book The Destruction is devoted to the experiences of the Kittever Jews and the life of the Jews in the neighbouring towns and villages under Nazi
occupation. Everything is based on my exact observations as I experienced it as an eye-witness of the great destruction.
The book is written in a simple Yiddish language by a person who describes the history of his home-town, from its founding to its destruction. I wanted to get across the joys and sufferings of Jewish Kittev, its way of life and its folklore.
The third part, the written monument of Kittev, is dedicated to the luminous memory of the martyrs. Let this book be found in the home of every Kittever landsman and landswoman. Let our children acquaint themselves with the martyrology of our city and its martyrs, and remember them forever.
April 10, 1958.
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