[Page 4 English]
From right to left: Yehuda Rosenberg, Moshe Goldfinger, Advocate Yehezkiel Ereli (Erlich), Shlomo Horvitz, Simkha Minzberg, Yerahmiel Halstock and Arie Zabner
Also belonging to the committee: Nahum Walerstein, Fela Majerczik, Miriam Feldmann, Hayim Langer, Shmuel Wagner and Jaffa Rosenberg, deceased. The Book Committee composed of the members of the Organisation of Ostrovtsers in Israel
[Page 5 English]
written with blood and tears,
on the unknown graves
[Page 6 English]
Seated (from right to left): Jeannette Streitmann, Rachel Gutholz-Kempinsky, Chairman Shmuel Steitmann, Vice-Chairman Bernard Bornstein, Treasurer Dora Bornstein, Guta Gutwill-Braun, Josef Glatt.
Standing: Shimon Kempinsky, Charles Grossmann, J.M. Birenzweig, S. Birenzweig, Bernard Glatt, Mordechai Topel, David Winchester, Moshe Fish
[Page 8 English]
Seated (from left to right): Shlomo Steinhardt, Paltiel Brickman, Fin. Sec. Mordekhai Grinspan, Frat. Treas. Lawyer Leibush Cuker, Chairman Yeshayahu Zweigmannn, Vice-Chairman Yehezkiel Mandel, Secretary Eber Beinerman.
Standing (from left to right): Harry Fischer, Israel Garfinkel, Meir Rosenberg, Shmuel Friedmann, Yehiel Rachimore, Abraham Starkmannn
[Page 9 English] [Page 13 Hebrew] [Page 15 Yiddish]
Yehezkel Ereli (Erlich)
Nearly two decades have elapsed since the idea was born of perpetuating the memory of our town by means of a Memorial Book which would tell to future generations the story of the Jewish Town that was and is no more.
The Ostrowce Book went through many a crisis and caused frequently feelings of despair and depression, almost wiping out the hope of ever publishing the volume black on white.
The initiators of the idea, especially the first amongst them, our colleague Zafriri (Morgenlender), had many of their illusions shattered owing to the indifference of the Ostrowce Jews in Israel and in the Diaspora.
The prospectus published 10 years ago did not evoke the anticipated response amongst the Ostrowce Jews and did not bring about any activity conducive to the preparation of such a Book.
However, ample material was assembled to form the basis of what was to result in the Book of Ostrowce, the Book which would present the town and its inhabitants in their ways and customs, talk and behaviour, their manifold dealings, their learning and crafts, their working days and holidays and Sabbaths. This colourful material awaited a skilful man who would weave it into the canvas from which the present book is made.
About 6 years ago, a decisive turning point was reached on the way to the realization of the project. An editor was engaged who had previously edited similar memorial volumes, and gave us well-warranted hopes soon to present us with a complete book.
Unfortunately, the hopes did not materialize. Although the editor collected manifold new material, especially connected with the history of the town and its Admor, who was the pride of the town and who made it famous all over the world, and although the compatriots responded to his appeal and started sending various documents regarding the holocaust, and written by the survivors
[Page 10 English]
of the conflagration, which made possible the division of the entire material into sections, the editing and the final arrangement, with the view of deciding upon the scope thereof.
Many evenings were spent in reading the material, segregating same and dividing into separate categories. Many a difference of opinions arose as a result of this work, sometimes a conflict developed especially because of the passive attitude of the editor as regards editing, arrangement and practical preparation of the material for publication.
The committee members who were also the members of the Book Commission, were in a very difficult position. The confidence of the Ostrowce people was considerably affected by the lack of progress in the preparation of the Book.
In order to promote the matter, the commission finally decided to engage a competent man who would, in the teeth of all difficulties, undertake the completion of the project initiated by us, and who would see it through without additional delays.
During this period, the undersigned and later, our friend Yehuda Rosenberg, visited New York and managed to win over to our cause the Ostrowce Jews, survivors of the Ghetto and others who live in New York and Toronto and presently the American friends organized their own committees and collected considerable funds which they transferred to us with courage and renewed hope, but was in itself, insufficient at least from the financial standpoint.
We had to pay a double amount as compared with what we promised, in order to get back from the editor, the entire material and turn it over to an adequate editor and publisher who would be responsible for finalizing the Book in a proper and honourable manner.
Nearly a year ago, the work was renewed at an intense pace by
[Page 11 English]
Mr. Gershon Zilberberg and the Committee members, and at last we were able to complete and bless the Book, handing over to the Ostrowcers, wherever they may be, the Yiskor Volume in its fine form both as regards contents and layout.
We made all endeavours to include the entire gamut of the Jewish community members of Ostrowce, to express all the political persuasions of the people, all cultures and strata which prevailed in the Jewish street.
We are aware that more was omitted than included. But we used the scant sources as fully as possible.
We tried to represent the who-was-who of the town with their wide fields of activity: here and there we sketched a special type who lived in the town, - all of whom seem today to belong to the sphere of legend.
The reader will follow the history across its dark hours and its highlights. But above all, the aim of the Book is to describe the great Holocaust to which a special important section has been devoted. Included in it are writings of Ostrowcers who survived, the last ones who could utter their cry, pronounce their verdict, give vent to their pain and suffering, and fight. Every letter is written with blood the blood of our brethren which cries out for vengeance.
The negative side was not omitted, as it appeared during the Holocaust, but, a serious effort was made to abstain from libel and injury to peoples, as far as possible. The contents of the book were carefully sifted over and over again, but, if they are not without fault, we ask of our readers for their complacency.
For budgetary reasons and, - in order not to overburden our readers with too much material, where every addition may be an excess, - we were left with a considerable number of papers not included in the present Book. It may serve as basis for another
[Page 12 English]
volume for those of our friends who are willing to undertake the holy task of continuing for the sake of the future generations so as to tell them all about the town that was and is no more Ostrowce.
We shall not enumerate all the names of those who worked and helped in the task of publishing the present volume, who gave their time and their money to speed its appearance; we shall just thank them and say: Bless all those who helped, assisted, supported, acted and worked for the sake of accomplishing in the Holy Land the Memorial Book of perpetuation of the memory of all those who died bequeathing life to us.
May this book be a memorial on the unknown graves of our beloved, dispersed all over Poland.
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