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[Page 8]

 

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In the Cemetery on Trumpeldor Street in Tel Aviv

 

[Page 9]

Introduction

The Editorial Board

25 Tishri 5727

Translated by Mary Jane Shubow

When the first survivors of the massacre in our town arrived in the Land, they were like charred remnants from the flames. As with other communities of Israel in the Diaspora, the community of Jews from Radzivilov–Chervono–Armeysk, after it was conquered by the Soviets–an idea arose in the hearts of some of the townspeople who had settled in the Land to establish a memorial for our town's martyrs, those who were tortured and died at the hands of the cursed impure, the German Nazis and the Ukrainians who carried out their orders, many of whom were from the place and its surroundings, may their name and memory be obliterated forever.

In 1950, after many attempts, a monument was erected in the old cemetery on Trumpeldor Street in Tel Aviv in memory of Radzivilov's martyrs. Since then, every year, on the 25 Tishri, the day of the community's final extermination in the year 5703 on the Hebrew calendar, a memorial service is conducted there for the town's martyrs. (The first “action” was carried out on 13 Sivan 5702.)

But the monument is silent, its agony locked up within the marble. Jewish Radzivilov was a town that was full of life and bustling with activity. Even though it was not counted among the big cities of Volhynia, because of its location on a main thoroughfare, not walled and open, it stood out with its own uniqueness. We can say that the east and west winds converged there. Until World War I broke out, it served as a frontier and bridge town that connected Great Russia with the Kaiser's Austria, may his name be praised. During World War I, the town served as a frontline for different warring armies and was almost totally destroyed and burned down. Later it became an arena for the “Red” military battles in the war with “White” gangs and nationalistic Ukrainian plunderers. It went from hand to hand innumerable times until the Polish government was established there and refugees began to return, trying to build their lives anew. It was no longer the same Radzivilov from before the war. Nevertheless, a rehabilitation of new Jewish life occurred at that time with the establishment of cultural, social, and charitable institutions, and our young people gained an awareness of realizing the Zionist idea through pioneering activity and immigrating to Israel.

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Suddenly, it was once again a town of mainly Jewish life, until it was wiped out when Poland was crushed under the feet of the bloodthirsty invader.

Here in the Land, there were a few people from Radzivilov who could not rest until they tried to revive memories of the community, insofar as they could, in a book of perpetual memory. When it was decided in 1960, Duvid Sheyn, of blessed memory, took the task on. Unfortunately, despite his strong will and great devotion to the matter, only a few of the 200 families who were related to those from our town lent a hand to the project, whether in spirit or materially. One year followed another, and the gap between the vision and its realization remained wide. When Duvid Sheyn kneeled down and fell on Rosh Hashanah 5725, still in his prime, his friends swore on his grave to realize his big dream, which was closer to his heart than anything else was.

A small group of friends prepared themselves and became the Publication Committee for Radzivilov's memorial book. They began to work with a stubborn determination to keep working until the book was published. Two years have passed since then, and now we have it. We have fulfilled our sacred duty to our martyrs' memory as much as we could and as much as possible. The pages of this book bear witness and put into words the blood–pact between us and our dear ones, whose blood was absorbed into the killing pits. No monument marks their place of burial; there is no grave.

We know, yes we know, that more is missing from the book than is in it. The period between the two wars was neglected–the time under Polish rule, when most of those who came from the town and are living with us were actually there. Some of them left as children, and some grew up there. It is for them and their descendants that this book has been created. That is why we were pained that only a few answered our repeated requests to write down their memories of their days and deeds. And even though that part is missing, many chapters were written in their place about public institutions, ideologic movements, and personal experiences, including descriptions of activities that blessed our town. It is appropriate that all of this is memorialized in the book.

As for the list of martyrs, we are certain that many names are missing. There are two reasons for this: one is the great number of families from which no one remained, neither here in Israel nor in any other country; and the other, despite our repeated requests, is that only a few responded and gave us lists of their relatives who perished in the massacre.

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Therefore, the one who must be blessed is our friend Arye–Leyb Ayzen, whose amazing memory retrieved a great many names from everlasting oblivion, memorializing them in the book. Their names will reside forever beneath the heavenly throne, along with those anonymous ones who were also wiped out with them in the pits.

We hereby express our gratitude to all those who contributed, both spiritually and materially, to everyone who was generous of heart on behalf of this valuable and holy deed: to Mr. Tsvi Zagoroder, without whose determination this project would not have been possible. We are grateful to him for his limitless devotion, his handling of everything big and small, and his concern over the years. We are grateful to Mr. Arye–Leyb Ayzen, who was active and faithfully assisted us in this work; to Mrs. Rachel Gurman; to Mr. M. Korin; to Mr. M. Landis; to Mr. B. Felman, who guided us with his advice and collected and edited some of the material; to Mr. Tsvi Sley, who translated manuscripts written in Yiddish; and to Mr. Yakov Adini, editor of the book, who lent his vitality to make something whole from pieces and fragments and whose good taste stood him in good stead in the work he did with a loving heart–may everyone be blessed.

 

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