[Translator's Note: Ethel (Schwartzberg) Aarons and Yerachmiel Ralph Aarons are my parents. I watched the book being brought to life by the members of the Rakishker Landsmanscaft in the dining room of my parents palace in Mayfair, Johannesburg.]In conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the Rakishker Landsmanschaft and concurrent with the publication [appearance] of The Yizkor Book of Rakishok and Environs, we publish the greetings of the following Institutions:
Board of Deputies in South Africa[Page 434]To the Honorable Secretary
The Landsmanschaft of Rakishok and Environs
Esteemed Friends:It gives me great pleasure to send you greetings for your Yizkor and Jubilee [anniversary] Book; in honor of the 40th anniversary of your Landsmanschaft. Your Association, like others of the same character, which we have in this country, has the important dual task of upholding brotherly ties with landsleit and simultaneously to strengthen the consciousness and to feel the commitment to your fellow members as Jews and citizens of this country. You have achieved much in both these regards.
In the relatively short history of South African Jewry, a 40th Jubilee is certainly a remarkable achievement.
I wish you and your Landsmanschaft success and continued fruitful labor.
With friendly greetings,
J. A. Maisels, President
Johannesburg, 5th May 1952
Zionist Federation of South AfricaTo the Rakishker Landsmanschaft in South Africa:
In the last 40 years, there have occurred enormous changes in the political, economic and social life of humanity and in the life of the Jewish People. All of these changes are of such a scope and significance that they can be judged by us as the greatest in the history of the Jewish nation.
The destruction of European Jewry, including the communities from which your members originate, has placed on the Jews of the whole world a great responsibility for the fate of the whole Jewish People.
The South African Jewish communities are mainly composed of immigrants who came from cities and shtetlach like Rakishok, and of their children who, thanks to the beautiful traditions which they brought from the old home, have acquired a high reputation in the Jewish world.
The South African Zionist Federation, stimulated by these vital powers and these exalted traditions, have made a substantial contribution to the realization of the Zionist Ideal and the establishment of the Jewish State of Israel.
We are therefore happy to identify with you in your anniversary celebration and wish your Landsmanschaft, together with other Landsmanschaften, to have continuity in upholding our old traditions and remaining active in practical aid for the good of Eretz Yisrael, for the People of Israel, and for our Jewish Community in South Africa.
S. M. Kuper
Chairman of the South African Zionist Federation
Johannesburg, 21st May 1952
South African Board of Jewish EducationTo the Honorable Secretary
of the Rakishker Society in JohannesburgDear Friends:In the name of the Board of Education in South Africa, I have the pleasure to express hearty greetings to the Rakishker Landsmanschaft on 40 years of their existence in South Africa. The exceptional achievements of these landsmanschaften, among whom you contributed a significant portion, are well known to us, and it is no doubt that landsmanschaften like your Society have contributed a great deal to the progress and well-being of the South African Jewish community.
Your publication of the Yizkor Book of Rakishok, in memory of the martyrs, etc., is specially significant.
We appreciate that in the Yizkor Book, your active landsmanschaft will tell the heroic actions of the Jews of Rakishok and Environs, as is appropriate.
P. Porter, Chairman
Johannesburg, 9th June 1952
The South African Jewish Culture Federation[Page 436]To the Rakishker Landsmanschaft:
It is with great pleasure that the South African Jewish Culture Federation takes upon itself the duty to greet you on the 40th anniversary of your landsmanschaft. The role of the landsmanschaften was very big in the years when the immigration from Eastern Europe into South Africa began. But even now these landsmanschaften can do important work, both for those remaining refugees in the various countries, and also for their present members.
Apart from practical help, cultural work should be an important task of every landsmanschaft organization. By spreading the Jewish word, the landsmanschaften can strengthen the continuity between the present generation and the cultural treasures, which were created in the countries from which local Jews originate.
In your decision to publish a yizkor book about Rakishok and Environs, there is an important sign that your landsmanschaft understands the duty that life places on all of us.
We hope that this book will perpetuate the life and activities of a significant part of the Lithuanian Jewish population.
We wish you success in your important work.
With 'Friendly-Culture' Greetings,
South African Jewish Kultur Federatziah
R. Friedman, Secretary
Johannesburg, 15th June 1952
Chevra Kadisha and Helping HandTo the Secretary of the Rakishker LandsmanschaftDear Friends:I express to your Landsmanschaft the most enthusiastic greetings of the Executive Committee and members of the Johannesburg Chevra Kadisha and Helping Hand on your 40th anniversary.
It is for me a great pleasure on this occasion to express our friendship, which always exists between both our organizations.
Together with you we mourn over the great national catastrophe and over the Holocaust in Rakishok and Environs, and we believe you will in the future continue your noble activities.
May your Landsmanscahft go from strength to strength and increase in size.
Oscar Getz, Chairman
Johannesburg, 21st May 1952
Organization of Lithuanian Jews in Philadelphia and Environs[Page 437]To the Rakishker Landsmanschaft in South Africa:Committee of Welfare Association of Shatt and Environs
We greet you heartily, active members and leaders of Lithuanian Jewry, Association of Rakishker Landsleit, in honor of your 40th year Jubilee.
Greetings for your brotherly aid work and cultural activities and for publishing the Yizkor Book.
In you there burns the spirit of eternal energy of Lithuanian Jewry. Be proud of your organization and achievements. We are very happy to know that we are not alone in the great welfare work.
Let us together work to help the kernel that has risen from Lithuanian Jewry, from which can and will begin to be spun, future generations of the Jewish spirituality that enriched Jewish life until now.
Let us with united strength perpetuate the past and help to build Jewish life in Israel and all parts of the world, being an example of industriousness, culture-creating and freedom-loving people.
Greetings to you all and may you have success in all your endeavours.
Michael Levin, President
Jacob Davis, Chairman of the Board
Lewis Sasman, Finance Secretary
David L. Frensky, Accountant
Gitteh Ferman, Secretary
Philadelphia, 15th February 1952Landsmanschaft of Rakishok and EnvironsEsteemed Friends:We express to you our deepest acknowledgement for your publication of the Yizkor Book in memory of Rakishok and Environs. In our opinion, this book should be found in every Jewish house in Africa and the Diaspora.
Your undertaking of the publication of the Yizkor book should be hailed by all Jews.
A. Ch. Gaddye, Secretary
Johannesburg, 5th July 1952
Fordsburg Mayfair Gmiluth ChessedVery Esteemed Secretary of the Rakishker Landsmanschaft:
We greet you in your undertaking, which is truly a mighty achievement.
With the Yizkor Book will be perpetuated the memory of the tragic annihilation and Holocaust of East European Jewry generally, and of Lithuanian Jews in particular. It will be a memorial for all future generations.
We greet you on the 40th anniversary of your existence, which in our young communal life in South Africa is a very unusual occasion. During this time, a number of landsmanschaften have already ceased to exist, but you were active and are still active in many areas of our communal life.
Without a doubt, your activities will be written down in the annals of history.
May the hands of all those who took part in this holy labour be strengthened and blessed.
With friendly greetings,
Johannesburg, 12th May 1952
Translated by Bella (Aarons) Golubchik
Recording Jewish History in the modern meaning of the word is a very young science. It is understandable that Jews, being a people with an ancient history, always had certain literary creations that dealt with political happenings. Much historical material is to be found in the Tanakh [the Jewish Bible]. Certain books are dedicated simply to tell a story. Books with a historical content are also found in external books, in the Septuagint [the translation of the 70 scholars] and other creations of the Hellenistic Period.
The classic Jewish historian of the Hellenic-Roman Period was Josephus Falvius, but he was not the only one to describe the struggle with Rome. [Unfortunately, the writings of other historians, such as Justus from Tiberius, have been lost.] In the later periods, however, the significance and interest for recording history was lost. The learned Jews of the Middle Ages did not create historical works apart from those that depicted the development of Halakha [Jewish Religious Law], Rabbi Sh'rira Ga-on, etc. First, there was the period of the Spanish expulsion. Under the influence of outstanding [exceptional] suffering and the influence of the Italian Renaissance, there came into being a few works which dealt with historic research or local news [chronicles]. [Yosef Hakohein; Yehuda Ibn Vigra; Avraham Zechuta; Shmuel Ushki; Azariah Min Ha Adumim and others]. But the example of the Spanish and Italian historians found only a scant response from the Ashkenazi Jews, who really distanced themselves from such 'idle things' [idle words]. [This was the opinion about history books of Rabbi Ya'akov Emden, in the 18th century.] With only a few exceptions [e.g., David Gandz 'Tzemach David']. It is understandable that during these many hundreds of years, many memoirs were written, diaries, memories; (e.g., The Scroll of Achimetz; The Memoirs of Gluekel of Hamelin, and many, many others); family chronicles; and chronicles and scrolls about decrees and persecutions [e.g., about the Crusades and the Decrees of the years Täch and Tat and so on]. But these are the fabric and raw material of historical research, and not historical monographs or studies.
Modern Jewish historiography traces its connection to two great Jewish intellectuals, who began to develop their great historical work around the middle of the 19th century, Mordechai [Markus] Jost and Tzvi [Heinich] Graetz. Their works were great synthetic essays which encompassed the whole story of the Jewish people in all eras and all countries.
Simultaneously with this Jewish universal history, studies began to appear from other researchers who embraced only one period or one problem. A further step was national history, which dealt with the history of the Jews in one country e.g., Germany, Poland, Italy, Turkey, and so forth. Only later did an interest begin to develop in the history of Jews in particular towns, communities, and individual areas, i.e., local and regional history.
2. The Amateur Community Monographs
To begin with, this latest branch of the Jewish Story was principally in the hands of amateurs [lovers of Jewish History] and not in the hands of educated professionals, who wanted to engage themselves with the ways [high ways] of historical development, and regarded it below their dignity to busy themselves with such limited themes as local history. Only much later did there emerge an historiographical area [see Section 4], which showed that the regional and local investigations [researches] were precisely as important as the synthetic ones.
In the meantime, educated enthusiasts created a great deal in the area of community monographs. Among these amateurs there were also various levels. The best combination of amateur-historian in those days, particularly in Western and Central Europe, was represented by the 'Rav' [The Doctor-Rabbi]. He generally combined Jewish and general education, and completing a Rabbinic Seminary [or a Yeshiva] and a [secular] University. Scientifically and methodologically, however, he was more prepared [inclined] towards Tanakh [Bible] and Halakha [Jewish Law], Hebraic philology, and literature, rather than to history and sociological research. He had, however, at least an approach to both Judaic-Hebraic and non-Jewish sources.
The other types of amateurs were more one-sided. They had either secular or Jewish traditional education only.
Almost all the monographs written by the amateurs are one sided [biased], although among them were people of great education and ability. They occupied themselves mainly with the history of the communal institutions, charitable institutions, and biographies of renowned persons; describing or rewriting tombstones in old cemeteries, statements of accounts of congregations and account books, and giving long and detailed letters of the pedigree of well-known families. This one-sidedness [bias] is characteristic of monographs written by rabbis as well as ordinary learned people.
Other works suffer from another type of biasthat of people who have only a general secular education, with no access to the Hebrew and Jewish sources. They used mainly urban and national archives involving non-Jewish printed sources and research, and they occupied themselves mainly with the external organization, with legal questions, with by-laws [statutes] and privileges, with decrees, protests, and disagreements between Jewish and Christian townsfolk and so on.
In a word, all these monographs did not have a universal character. They were fragmentary in many aspects. Generally, they did not provide the economic and social development, the rich canvas of inner/internal life, language, cultural life and folk creativity, the national and social movements in the new era, and so on.
Nevertheless, amateur local researches have great value for the Jewish story. The history enthusiasts were the first to plough through the neglected field of community history. They saved for distant, future researchers, a great deal of important material, from notebooks, books, and tombstones, to oral tradition from elders and others--material that surely would have been lost without such dedicated labor. The blossoming period of these amateur monographs was the second half of the 19th century. However, this branch of our historiography has not died out totally with the awakening of the modern scientific and professional community monographics.
Even in our time a considerable amount of amateur-urban monographs are published. Aamong these hundreds of amateur communal descriptions [many of these are scattered in various periodicals and anthologies] are at least a few score that are exceptional, both due to the great expertise and skill of the compilers, as well as the significant and worthy material they bring. We will give here a short overview of the most important publications of this type.
Generally, the monographic works about the communities are written in Hebrew, the literary language of the educated in Eastern Europe. Most of the amateur monographs stemmed from Eastern Europe. The Hebrew monographs often carry their characteristic titles [names]. In the oratorical flowery language of these titles, we can already see the awe-filled, loving attitude of the compilers to their subject. We see that this is not simply a job for them--'a spade with which to dig'-- but a holy duty, a holy task. Here are a few titles of these books: The Faithful City, The Exalted City, Totally Beautiful, City of Praise, City of Heroes, City of Righteousness, Monument of Holiness and a few more 'neutral' titles; City of Lesek and Her Wise Men, Rabbis of Minsk and Her Wise Men, Streets of the City, Memorial Tablets [lists], A Momento to the Great Men of Ostra, Rabbis of Dubno, and so forth.
Now let us see which geographic areas these monographs covered and the tempo of their publication. [Next to each book we quote also the year of publication.] The first communities which attracted the consideration of the writers were the renowned ancient communities, with a great tradition of erudition. And here are the communities.
Krakow: G. M. Tzintz, Ir Hatzedek [City of Righteousness], 1874.
Ancient Times from Various Notebooks, 1892 [Vitshtein].
And later [various essays and notebooks with sources], P. Ch. Vitshtein, 1982. Ch. D. Friedberg, Memorial Lists [Tables], 1897.
Vilna: Y. Finn, Faithful City, 1860. Noach Shtinschneider [Magid], City of Vilna, 1900.
Lemberg: G. Sochestov, Holy Memorial [four sections], 1863-1869.
Ch. N. Dimbitzer, Totally Beautiful, 1888-1893.
Shlomo Buber, Famous People, 1895.
Dr. Yechezkiel Karo [Rabbi of the Lemberg Progressive Congregation], History of the Jews in Lemberg, 1894 [in German].
Sholkeveh: Shlomo Buber, Exalted City 1903.
Yaroslav: M. Shteinberg [Rabbi in Yaroslav], The Jews in Yaroslav, 1933 [in Polish].
Tchort'kev: Zunshin, Efraim [Rabbi in Torun, born in Tchort'kev], Chapters from the Annals of the Lives of the Jews of Tchort'kov, 1939.
Galina: Scroll of Galina, by Chanoch H. Halperin, 1950.
[In Yiddish] Community of Galina, 1473-1943, by Asher Korach, 1950.
Dinau, Sanik, Dibetzk [Dubietzkah]: The Destruction of Dinau, Sanik and Dibetzk, by David Maritz, 1950 [Yiddish].
Mezeritch: My Ravaged Life, by Y. Horn 1946.
Karetz: The Destruction of Karetz, by Moshe Gildenman, 1949.
Lublin: Sh. B. Nissenboim, History of the Jews of Lublin, 1899.
N. Sheman, Lublin, City of Torah, Rabbinate and Chassidism, 1951.
Piotr'kov: Feinkind, The History of the Jews in Piotr'kov, 1930 [in Polish].
Lask and Its Wise Men, P. Z. Gliksman, 1926.
Apta [Apatov]: Nochum Sokolov, There Is No Harvest, 1894.
Chelm: Shimon Milner, There Is No Harvest, 1902.
Dubnow: H. Sh. Margalit, Rabbis of Dubnov, 1910.
P. Pessis: City of Dubnov and Her Wise Men, 1902.
Ostrah [Ostrag] M. M. Bieber, A Monument to the Great Men of Ostrah, 1907.
Grodno: Sh. A. Friedshtein, City of Heroes, 1880.
Shlomo Hurwitz, Streets of the City, 1881 [a critique of Friedenshtein's Book].
Brisk D'Litah [Brest-Litovsk]: A. L. Feinshtein, City of Praise, 1886.
Bialistok: A. Sh. Hershberg, Bialistok Diary [2 vols.], 1949-1950 [in Yiddish].
Minsk: Shmuel Tzitron, Congregation of Israel in Minsk in Assembly of Israel, 1886. Benzion Eizenshtadt, Rabbis of Minsk and Her Wise Men, 1898.
Novoradek [Novogradek]: D. Walberinsky M. Markowitz, History of the City of Novochrodek and Its Rabbis, 1913.
Vitebsk: Zabizhinski, History of the Jews of Vitebsk in 'Today,' 1877.
Kovno: Tbilovski, The Scroll of Kovno in Knesset Yisrael [Congregation of Israel], 1886. D. M. Lipman: History of the Jews of Kovno and Slovodkah 1934.
Keidan: Ch. Kassel, The City of Keidan, 1930.
Kiev: A Kupernik, History of the Jews in Kiev, 1891.
3. The Historical Monographs
The historical monograph first appeared in Western Europe and German around the middle of the 19th century. In Eastern Europe, this new phase appeared approximately 50 years later on the crest between the 19th and 20th centuries.
Actually, there is no clear dividing line in Western Europe between the amateur and historical monograph. There were almost no erudite scholars of the Eastern European type among the community of historians. The first Jewish historians from the Western European community were mainly people with little Jewish education, or even without either Jewish or Hebrew education. This is a strong indication of the character and content of their books. There are also among them a few non-Jewish writers. However, with time, this area was overtaken, especially in Germany and Italy, by Rabbis or professionally schooled Jewish historians, and the historical monographs acquired a totally different aspect. In Poland the historical monograph [beginning in the 20th century], finds itself in the hands of Jewish historians with appropriate Jewish and general knowledge. The historical monographs were primarily written in the vernacular [French, Italian, German, Dutch, English, Polish, Russian, Hungarian, etc.]. In Eastern Europe, some works in Yiddish and Hebrew were also published.
Let us attempt to give a geographic overview of the main monographs, according to the countries and the communities that were being described.
France: [one of the oldest monographs]: Paris, Narbonne, Nice, Avignon, Bayonne, Metz, Strassbourg.
Italy: Rome [two classic works], Florence, Venice, Padua, and other communities.
Germany: Germany was the cradle of modern Jewish historical scholarship, and therefore it is no wonder that historical monographs blossomed here so strongly. There were almost no Jewish communities that lacked an attempt at such monographs. Here we will only concentrate on the most important works: The SHUM communities (Shpiera [Speyer], Warmiza [Worms], and Magentza [Mainz]), Keln, Bonn, Erfurt, Frankfort am Mein, Nurnberg, Fiorda [Firta], Wirtzburg, Regensburg, Augsburg, and Essen.
North Germany: the communities Ah'v [Altuna Wandsbek, Hamburg], Libek, Danzig, Konigsberg.
Eastern Germany: Berlin [the classic work of man of letters and cultural historian Ludwig Geiger], Halberstadt.
The Provinces of Posen and Pomeren. These previously Polish provinces, which were a part of the German Reich from the end of the 18th century until 1918, were dealt with [treated] by German Jewish historians in a series of studies [some of these researches were published later, already in the period of independent Poland]. The historian and Rabbi, Dr. Lewis Levin, who described [related] the history of these communities, made great gains in this area: Kalish, Lisa [Leshno], Finah [P'riyoi] Inovrotzlav [Hohenzaltza] and Y. Hertzberg, who collaborated with A. Hefner in a lexicon of the communities in the region of Posen, apart from that written about the city of Posen and Bromberg-Biedgoshtch.
Of other communities it is significant to mention the studies about: Katowitz, Krotoshin, Ostroff, Ravitch and Shenlanka, [Tchshtch Tch-shianka].
Balkan countries: Saloniki [two great monographs].
Yassi, Bucharest, Kishenov.
Yitzchak Kron: The Jews of Kishenov 1950.
Hungary: Eizenshtadt [the monumental work of B. Wachshtein] Budapest.
Austria: A series of important works were published about Vienna, especially after the Historic Jewish Commission was founded in Vienna.
Czechoslovakia: [Behmen and Mehren]: The investigations [researches] were particularly intensive about how two publications were created: The Periodical of the History of the Jews in Czechoslovakia and The Year Books of the History of the Jews in Czechoslovakia. Regarding the former work, it is worth mentioning Frankel-Green's two volume work: History of the Jews in Kremzir, a community in Mehren.[Editorial Note: Schedules from the bottom of page 443 to the middle of page 445 (France through Russia) were in English in the original and are included here verbatim without translation. An exception is the last line of the section on Poland, which was inserted in the original in Hebrew script and translated here into English.]FRANCE: Theophil Malvezin: Histoire des Juifs de Bordeaux. 1875; Ad. Detcheverry:
Histoire des Israelites de Bordeaux. 1850; Leon Kohn; Histoire de la communaute juive de Paris 1886; idem: Les Juifs a Paris (various studies), 1889. 1894, 1892, 1898, etc.; Robert Anchel: Les Juifs a Paris à 18-e siecle. Bull de la Societe d'Histoire de Paris, xx LIX (1932); idem in Jewish Social Studies, II (1940) ; J. Régné: Les Juifs à Narbonne 1912; S. Kahn: Notice sur les Israélites de Nimes, 672-1808; Armand Mossé: Histoire des Juifs d'Avignon et du Comtat Venaissin , 1934; Henry Léon: Histoire des Juifs, de Bayonne. 1893; Nathan Netter: Vingt Siècles d'Histoire d'une Communauté Juive (Metz). 1938; Adolf Glaser: Geschichte der Juden in Strassburg. 1894. Alfred Levy: Notice sur les Israelites de Lyon. 1894.
SPAIN: M. Mendez Bejarano: Histoire de la juiverie de Sevilla; E. C. Girbal: Los Judios en Gerona. 1870: Jose Fiter y Ingles: Expulsion de los Judios de Barcelona. 1876.
SWITZERLAND: Achille Nordmann: Histoire des Juifs à Geneve de 1281 a 1780. Revue des Etudes Juives. LXXX (1925); idem: Geschichte der Juden in Basel, Baseler Zeitschrift fuer Geschichte, vol. XIII; Fritz Wyler: Die Entstehungder Schweizeischen Israelitischen Gemeinden. 1929.
HOLLAND: J. S. da Silva Rosa: Geschiedenis der Portugeesche Joden te Amsterdam, 1593-1925. 1925 Herbert I. Bloom: The Economic Activities of the Jews in Amsterdam in the 17th-18th Centuries. 1937; Henriquez Pimentel M.: De Portugeesche Israeliten in's Gravenhage (Hague), 1876; D S. van Zuiden: Geschiedenis der hoogduitsche Jode in's Gravenhage (Hague) 1914.
ENGLAND: Elkan Nathan Adler: London (Jew. Publication Soc. of America) 1930.
ITALY: Abraham (Adolph) Berliner: Geschichte der Juden in Rom. 2 vols. 1893; Hermann Vogelstein and Paul Rieger: Geschichte der Juden in Rom. 1895-96; H. Vogelstein: Rome (Je. Publ. Society of America); Umberto Cassuto: Gli Ebrei a Firenze. 1918; Cecil Roth: Venice (Jew. Publ. Soc. of A.) 1930; Antonio Ciscato: Gli Ebrei in Padova. 1901.
GERMANY: Schwab: Geschichte der Juden in Mainz. 1855; Max Levy: Geschichte der Wormser Gemeinde; Leopold Rotschild: Die Judengemeinden zu Mainz, Speyer und Worms. 1904; S. Rotschild: Aus Vergangenheit und Gegenwart der Israelit. Gemeinde Worms, 1909; E. Weyden: Geschichte der Juden in Koeln, 1867; C. Brisch: Geschichte der Juden in Koeln am Rhein, 1879-82; Adolf Kober: Cologne (Jew. Publ. Soc. of Amer.) 1940; Schreiber: Die Jeudische Gemeinde Bonn, 1879; Jaroczewski: Geschichte der Juden in Erfurt, 1868; Isidor Kracauer: Geschichte der Juden in Frankfurt a.M. 1150-1824. 2 vols. 1925-27; Hugo Barbeck: Geschichte der Juden in Nuernberg und Fuerth, 1878; Ziemlich: Die israelitische Gemeinde in Neurnberg. 1900; M. A. Szulwas: Die Juden in Wuerzburg Waehrend des Mittelalters, 1934; S. Samuel: Geschichte der Juden in Stadt und Synagogenbezirk Essen, 1913; Fritz, Leopold Steinthal: Geschichte der Juden in Augsburg. 1911; Raphael Strauss: Regensburg and Augsburg. (Jew. Pub!. Soc. of Am.) 1939; Max Grunewald: Hamburgs deutsche Juden bis 1811. 1904; Jos. Carlebach: Geschichte der Juden in Luebeck, 1899; Jolowicz: Geschichte der Juden in Koenigsberg, 1867; Ludwig Geiger: Geschichte der Juden in Berlin. 2 vols. 1871; B. H. Auerbach: Geschichte der isr. Gemeinde Halberstadt. 1886; J. Perles: Geschichte der Juden in Posen. Breslau 1865; I. Herzberg: Posen I. Herzberg: Geschichte der Juden in Bromberg. 1903; Louis Lewin: Geschichte der Juden in Lissa, 1904; idem: Aus der Vergangen heit der jeud. Gemeinde in Pinne, 1903; dem: Beitraege zur Geschichte der Juden in Kalisch, in Festschrift A. E. Harkavy (1909); idem: Geschichte der Juden in Inowroclaw, Zeitschr. der Historischen Gesellschaft feur die Provinz Posen, 1900; J. Cohn: Geschichte der Synagogengemeinde Kattowitz, 1900; idem: Geschichte der Jeud. Gemeinde in Rawitsch, 1915; H. Berger: Zur Geschichte der Juden in Krotoschin, Monatsschr.f.d. Geschichte u. Wissenschaf t des Judentums. LI (1907); M. L. Bamberger: Geschichte der Juden in Schoenlanke (Trzianka), 1912; A. Freimann: Geschichte der Juden in Ostrow 1896; Jakob Jakobsohn: Geschichte der Juden in Rogasen, 1935.
THE BALKAN COUNTRIES: Joesph Nehama: Histoire des Israelites de Salonique. 4 vols. 1935-36; Isaac Samuel Emmanuel: Histoire des Israelites de Salonique. 1936; A. M. Halévy: Comunitatile Evreilor din Jassi si Bucuresti. 1931.
HUNGARY: Bernard Wachstein: Urkunden und Akten zur Geschichte der Juden in Eisenstadt und den Siebengemeinden Vienna 1926, 2 vols; Sandor Beuchler: A. Zsidok toertenete Budapesten (History of the Jews in B.) 1901; Miksa Pollak. A. Zsidok Toertenete Sopronban (History of the Jews in Sopron), 1896.
AUSTRIA AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA: Gerson Wolf: Geschichte der Juden in Wien, 1876; L. Bato: Die Juden im alten Wien, 1928; Siegmund Mayer: Der Wiener Juden 1700-1900. 1917; Leo Goldhammer: Die Juden Wiens, 1927; Alfred Pribram, ed.: Urkunden und Akten zur Geschichte der Juden in Wien 2 vols. 1917; Ignaz Schwarz and Max Grunewald: Geschichte der Juden in Wien, in Anton Meyer, ed.: Geschichte der Stadt Wien, 5 vols. 1914; Max Grunewald: Vienna (J. Publ. Soc. of Amer.) Adolf Frankl-Greun: Geschichte der Juden in Kremsier. 3 vols. 1896-1901.
POLAND: M. Schorr: Zydzi w Przemyslu do konca xvii wieku; I. Schipper: Zydzi w Tarnowie in Kwartalnik Historyczny, vol. xix idem: 700 lat gminy zydowskiej w Plocku. 1938ffi M. Balaban: Zydzi lwowscy na przelomie xvi i xvii wiekug. 1906 idem: Zydzi w Krakowie i na Kazimierzu 1304-1868. 2 vols. 1931-37; idem: Die Judenstadt von Lublin, 1919 (also in Yidd. translation, Buenos Aires, 1946); idem: Przewodnik po zabytkach zyd. Krakowa. 1935; D. Wurm: Z dziejow zydostwa brodzkiego do 1772, 1935; Lazar Estrin: Dzieje Zydow w Zamosciu (non publ); Mgr Getter: Dzieje Zydow w Sandomierzu (non publ); Sz. Gottlieb: Dzieje Zydow w Kolomyji (non publ); Emmanuel Ringelblum : Dzieje Zydow w Warszawie do 1527.1932; Jacob Shatzky: Geshichte fun di Yidn in Varshe. 2 vols. 1947-48; Ph. Friedman: Tsu der geshichhte fun di Yidn in Lentchitz, in Lodzer Visensh. Shriftn vol. l.; idem: Dzieje Zydow w Lodzi do 1863.1935; J. Trunk: Plock 1237-1657 (in Yidd.) 1939; idem: A Jewish Community in Poland at the End of the XVIII Century (A Yidishe Khile in Polyn Tzum sof Fun XVIII Jaarhundert, in Bleter for Geshichte vol. I. (1934); El. Feldman: Geschichte fun di yidn in Kalish, in Lodzer Visn. Shriftn vol., and in Landkentnish (1934); Leo Streit: Dzieje Zydow w Stanislawowie (non publ); idem: Dzieje Synagogi Postepowej w Stanislawowie, 1939; idem: Dzieje wielkiej Synagogi miejskiej w Stanislawowie, 1936; idem: Ormianie a Zydzi w Stanislawowie 1936; Jakob Schall: Dawna Zolkiew i jej Zydzi. 1939; idem: Przewodnik po zabytkach zyd. Lwowa, 1936. The Polish Jewish Histiography has been extensively treated by this writer in his articles in Jew. Social Studies, vol. xi, no. 4 (1949) and in Miesiecznik Zydowski vol. 5 (1935).
Y. Haylperin, The History of the Jews in Tiktin, The Budapest Observer,1930.
THE BALTIC COUNTRIES: I. Joffe: Istoria Evreiev w Gor. Riga, in Voskhod 1885, A Buchholtz: Geschichte der Juden in Riga, 1899; S. Bershadsky: Istoria Evreiev v Vilne, in Voskhod, 1883, 1886, 1887, Israel Cohen: Vilno (Jew. Publ. Soc. of Amer.) 1943.
RUSSIA: M. Kulisher: Evrei v Kieve. in Evreyskaya Starina vi (1913).
Poland: The historical monograph achieved a very high level in Poland. The first great Jewish historians stemmed from Galitzia [Galicia], which was part of Austria until 1918, and part of Poland from 1918-1939. Professor Moshe Shur, Professor Meier Balaban, and Dr. Yitzchak Shipper laid the foundation of Jewish Historical Science in Galitzia, and also wrote monographs of communities; M. Shur about Pszemishel; Y. Shipper about Tarna, Plotzk and Drohovitch. [This last monograph has still not been published, it got lost at the time of the Nazi Holocaust.] M. Balaban, the classic monumental work about Lemberg and Krakov and the smaller monograph about Lublin.
Of the younger generation of historians, the following wrote monographs about communities:
Dr. Refael Mahler, Dr. Imamuel Ringelblum, [Warsaw, Kremenetz], Dr. P. Friedman [Lodz Lentshietz], Dr. Yaakov Shatzki [Warsaw], Dr. Ya'akov Shal [Zsholkeveh, Lemberg]. Of the latest [youngest] generation of historians it is worth mentioning, in particular, the group of students who came out of the Balaban Seminary for Jewish History in the University of Warsaw. Many from this group began to research the History of Particular Jewish communities [David Vaurm], Kalish [Elazar Feldman], Lublin [Bela Mandelsberg], Kutna and Plotzk [Y. Troonk], Zamoshtch [Lazar Estrin], Tzuzmir [Getter], Kalamai [Sh: Gottlieb], etc. The last three monographs did not appear in print.
A basic monograph about Stanislav [in Polish], which was ready to be printed in the summer of 1939, also did not see the light. The compiler, Sholem Shtreit, expired in Nazi hands in his hometown. He did publish a few smaller studies about Stanislav in the earlier years.
The Baltic States: A few important monographs were published about Vilna itself. Beginning with Russian [not Jewish] historian Bershadsky, and the folk tales of Chaikel Lunsky [librarian of Strashun library and very knowledgeable about old and new Jewish literature]. Until the monographs of Dr. Yisroel Klausner: The History of the Hebrew Community in Vilna 1938 and Vilna in the Era of the Gaon [The Gaon of Vilna], 1942, and Yisrael Cohen: Vilna [English], 1943. It is also worth mentioning two works about Riga [in German and in Russian].
Russia: We possess a notably small amount of historical monographs about the many communities in Russia and Ukraine, White Russia, Besserabia, etc. Since Dr. Mark Vishnitzer, contributed short lexicographic sections in the Jewish Encyclopedia in Russian [Yevrayskaya Entziklopedia] even before 1914, about these few Jewish communities [with Bibliography]. There was very little created in this area. It is worth mentioning a few smaller but methodical important works about Haradishtch [by Ya'akov Leshtchinsky in 1903]. Kiev [by M Kulisher in Yevrayskaya Starina], and about Odessa [B. Shuchtman, in Cities and Mothers of Israel, Vol. 2].
4. The Regional Area and the Post Holocaust Romantic-notsalgic Direction
The regional area is actually much older than the word 'regionalism' per se. Certain historians, already wrote in their style of writing, intuitively, in the spirit of regionalism, even before the coming into being of regionalism. They sought and found new ways, but they did not think about giving their new approach a new name, or a new theoretical foundation.
As the father of Regionalist History writing of the Jews, we can actually consider the Kovner-Jerusalemite, wise scholar, Avraham Moshe Luntz, who published a significant amount of work about Eretz Yisrael, and also among others, the 13 volumes of the Year Book Yerushalayin, 1882 1919. Many years later, with great regionalistic appeal, Nochum Sokolov published monographs of the Jewish communities [in Ha Olam, issues 9 and 10]. The writer of these lines, began larger studies of Regionalism in geographic lore: Warsaw No 1-3, in Miesientshnik Zshidovski, 1935, Vol. 5, Nos. 3-4, and in Future, New York, December 1951.
Recording of Regional History by Jews developed remarkably after the year 1918, especially in Poland. Around the time of the First World War, Professor Meier Balaban developed his monographs about the Jews in Lemberg and Krakov. They served as an example for many regionalist researchers and writers.
Many regional monographs were written by Jews in the period between both World Wars. They described scores of Jewish populations, including large communities like, Krakov, Lodz, Vilna, Vienna, Frankfort am Mein, and smaller communities such as Szalkov, Brad, Kutna, Plotzk P'rushani, Eizenshtat, etc.
Then came the Second World War. The Nazi killing machine destroyed Jewish towns and shtetlach. After the war, the awful concept of the terrible destruction in all its horrible scope became clear. The tender feelings for the 'Alter Heim'The Old Home--were renewed. It was no longer the lively shtetl, full of dear and beloved people, friends of one's youth and family. It now became a pain-filled memory of a world that had disappeared. Romantic feelings began to develop for 'Der Alter Heim' The Old Home. People forgot that they left the 'Old Home' not because of prosperity, but because of troubles, deprivation, political oppression, and economic need. They saw the 'Old Home' with the dreamy eyes of someone in love. They remember the tender emotions of their childhood years and immerse themselves in the warmth of the past 'heimishe' [homely] Yiddish atmosphere. Romantic veils are cast over the past. The regionalistic muse plays out in high tones, not only in our historic literature, but also in our poetry and prose.
The 'Alter Haim' is sung about in poetic verses, in memoirs, in novellas and novels, in reportage and essays. The writer carries us with Burning Footsteps [Z. Segalowitch] in the Courtyards of Warsaw [A. Teitelboim] and on T'lomatzkah [main road in Warsaw] 13 [Z. Segalowitch; B. Y. Rozen] or in his Destroyed Home [Y. Groin].
It may be Dezikov (1) or Reishe (2) or Sokolov (3) or Teplik (4) or In a House in Gzshibov (5) or A Little Street in Warsaw (6). It carries us between Ash and Fire (7).
Between Terror and Hope (8). It shows The Shabbos Yom Tovdike Jews [P. Bizberg]; Between the Shine of Extinguished Stars [Ch. Gradeh]; Sing about Home and Homelessness [Rochel Korn]; He sighs: There Once Was a Life [N. Meizel]; or he screams with pain Not Here Disappeared?] [Z. Segalowitch]; He draws figures with an enamoured pen In the Shadows of Generations (9) or he is elevated/raised with awe to Mount of Destruction [Zerubavel].
The recording of regional history in our generation is, therefore, no more an isolated, clearly academic science; it is today inextricably bound with the feelings of the Jewish masses.
The conclusion: most of the general structure and content of regional historical literature is published by Landsmanschafts; and written, in the main, not by professionals or writers, but by simple 'Citizen Joes.' For the last 10-12 years, since the beginning of the Nazi Holocaust, quite a number of Yizkor Books have been published, as well as Almanacs, Notebooks and monographs. It is impossible to enumerate them all here.
We will therefore satisfy ourselves with giving a general overview, as we have done in the previous chapters.
5. The Regionalistic Works in Yizkor Literature
In their method of working and in their theme, most of the greater works about towns or regions written in the last 30 years were regionalistic. They were regionalistic, whether written knowingly or unknowingly. More often it was the latter [unknowingly regionalistic], because even when the authors had never heard of regionalism and its theory, they created in the spirit of our time, taking as an example, non-Jewish [and today even, famous Jewish] works, which were created on regionalistic foundations.
However, our regionalism is exceptional and not like all other nations. Since the great catastrophe of European Jewry, there has been a second much stronger emotional element added, to the scientific interest that we have explained above. This has brought more zest and internal warmth to our regional literature. Our record of regional history since about 1940 has also concurrently become a Yizkor Literature [e.g. the superb anthology, A Thousand Years of Pinsk, 1941; The Lodzsher Book [Book of Lodz], 1943, etc.
Characteristic of the recording of regional history is the inclination towards comprehensiveness and encyclopaedic completeness. Encyclopaedias were published about communities, or as a series of monographs, almanacs, and anthologies.
In earlier times, a monograph was the work of an individual [or rarely the work of two authors who together wrote one book]. Such are these Almanacs, Yizkor Books, Notebooks and other books of this type of anthology, where different authors created all aspects of Jewish Life. Characteristic of this creativity in approach and theme [subject] are, for example, such works as the above mentioned Pinsker Book, The Book Litah [Lithuania] [edit. M. Sudarsky], The Jews of Tchenstochov [Ed. Mahler], Pinskas M'laveh [Ed. Shatzky], numerous Vilna Almanacs [for exact details; see further], The Anthology about Pruszhaneh, Haravetz, Grieveh, Belchatov, etc. But let us revert to a systematic overview of the most important works, according to types.
Encyclopaedias and Series of Community Monographs
[Editorial Note: The following paragraph was in English in the original.]Actually, the first community encyclopedias began appearing more than 50 years ago. The first, as far as I know, was The Encyclopedia of French Communities, by Henri Gross. Then came the unfinished Encyclopedia of German Communities, by Aharon Freiman, the Encyclopedia of the Communities in the Province of Posen [130 communities], by A. Heppner and Y. Hertzberg, and Gold's Encyclopedia of the Jews of Mehren.A.M. Luncz, Jerusalem (Hebrew and German), 1882-1913; Henri Gross, Gallia Iudaica, 1897; Aron Friemann, Germania Iudaica, vol 1, 1917, vol 2, 1934; A. Heppner and J. Herzberg, Aus der Vergangenheit und Gengenwart der Juden und Juedischen Gemeinden in der Provinz Posen, 1904-1929; Hugo Gold, ed., Die Juden und Judengemeinden Maehrens in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Cf. also Gabrieli: Italia Iudaica, 1924; Fidel, La Espana Hebrea, 1891; Magyar Zsidok Lexikon 1929; Jacob Zineman, ed., Almanach gmin Zydowskich w Polsce.
Jewish Publication Society of America, Communities Series, Philadelphia.
A certain number have an encyclopedic character in their size. For the Jewish communities in Lithuania: The Book Litah [Ed. M. Sudarsky]. For Galitzia: The Note Book of Galitzia [Ed. N. Tzuker, 1945. For the Ukraine: Towns and Shtetlach in the Ukraine, by M. Asherowetch, 1948 [two volumes with monographs of more than 20 communities]. For Poland: The Almanac of the Jewish Communities in Poland, written in Poilish [Ed. Ya'akov Tzineman, not completed, deals with 34 communities].
A whole series of short community monographs have been printed since 1944 in the Hebrew Art Periodical Gazit about a few score of Polish and Ukrainian towns, as well as a few Lithuanian and Volinian towns. In the anthology Cities and Mothers of Israel, published by the Institute of Ha Rov Kook, under the editorship of Rabbi Y. L. Fishman [Mimon], in the five published volumes to date [1946-1952], there were printed an estimated 20 community monographs of various Western and Eastern European towns.
Another series of community monographs were published [in English] by the Yiddish Publishing Company in America regarding Koln (Cologne), Rome, Vilna, Vienna, Venice, Regensburg and Augsburg. A great achievement in this area includes the series of books from the Publishing House 'Polish Jewry' in Buenos Aires. Among the 80 books published by this publishing house in the last six years are found a series of historical descriptions of Jewish communities, mainly from the period of the Nazi Holocaust. A new, great undertaking of this genus is the Encyclopedia of the Diaspora, Encyclopedia of the Dispersion which is being prepared for publication under the editorship of Yitzchak Grinboim in approximately 25 volumes of exhaustive [intensive] compilation about the most significant Jewish communities in Europe. The first two volumes, about Warsaw and Lemberg, have already been printed. The editorial staff intend to publish their publications in Hebrew, Yiddish, and English. Meanwhile, the first two volumes are appearing in Hebrew.
A special place for anthologies and published material for regional history is occupied by the regional or landschafte [parochial] periodicals, for example: The Polish Jew, The Besserabian Jew, The Ukrainian Jew, The Galitzianer, The Lithuanian Jew, Bialystok Life, Szhalechov Bulletin [all in New York], Vohlin Collection, News of the Organization of Immigrants from S'lonin, Immigrants from Dertzin, Immigrants from Grodno, News Sheet from the Organization of Central Europe [all in Israel] and others. All the above mentioned landsmanschaft publications have, apart from historical [narrative] and memoir material, a lot of related chronicles, and have mainly a more popular than scientific character. The periodical Landkentenish had a more scientific regional character and was published in Warsaw in the years 1930-1934.
Outstanding scientific regional publications were The Lodz Scientific Writings, Vol. 1, Lodz, 1938 [Ed. Dr. P. Friedman]. A first scientific regional periodical was published in Chapters from Bessarabia Notebook 1 [Tel Aviv 1952], Eds. L Kupershtain and Yitzchak Kurn. The number of almanacs, notebooks, yizkor books and anthologies is very large.
The majority were published after the Holocaust of European Jewry; but there are also a significant number of earlier works. We will give an overview [summary] of the most important publications.
Vilna has the greatest number of significant publications: The Vilna Collection [anthology] [Ed. Dr. Tzemach Shabad, Vols. 1-2, Vilna, 1916-1918]; Notebook of the History of Vilna, [by Zalman Reizen, Vilna, 1922; On the Ruins of Wars and Upheavels [Ed. Moshe Shalit, Vilna, 1932]; and Vilner Almanac [Ed. A. Grodzenski, Vol. 1, Vilna ,1939]. It is also worthwhile here to mention the comprehensive Jewish Vilner Correspondent: A Millennium/Thousand Years of Vilna, by Zalman Shik, Vilna, 1939.
Pruszhana: there is the outstanding Notebook of the Town of Pruszhana 1930.
Pinsk has the outstanding, monumental book, A Thousand Years of Pinsk, New York, 1941 [Ed. Dr. B. Hoffman (Tzivyon)]. And regarding Lodz, there is: The Lodz Almanac, New York, 1934 [Ed. Gustav (Getzel) Eizner], as well as The Lodz Yizkor Book, New York, 1943 [Ed. Zalman Zilbertzweig and others].
Berlchatov: Belchatov Yizkor Book, Buenos Aires 1951 [Ed. Mark Turkov].
Plotzk: Plotzk, Pages of History, Buenos Aires, 1945 [Ed. Y. Horn].
Tshenstochov: Tshenstochover Jews, New York, 1947 [Ed. Dr. R. Mahler and others].
M'laveh: M'laveh Notebook, New York, 1950 [Ed. Dr. Y. Shatzky].
Graieveh: Graiever Yizkor Book, New York, 1950 [Ed. Dr. G. Garin and others].
Stshegoveh; Stshegover Yizkor Book, New York, 1951.
V'lotzlavek, Krushnewitz, Kutna: Jubilee Book of Brentch [611 Worker Squad], New York, 1951.
Zaromb: [Zarombi-Kosh't'sheleneh]: Zaromb, New York, 1947 [Ed. Y. Dorfman].
Krasnitov: Krasnitov: Memoir [Yizkor] in Memory of the Martyrs of Krasnitov, Munich, 1948 [Ed. Aryeh Shtuntzeiger].
Radom: Jewish Radom in Ruins, Stuttgart, 1948 [Ed. Y. Rottenberg and others].
The Friend from Radom, Paris, 1950 Editorial Board.
Ostrovtzeh (Opatov, Aszharov and other surrounding towns): Ostrovtzeh Yizkor Book, Buenos Aires, 1949.
Levertov: The Destruction of Levertov, Paris, 1947 [Ed. B. T'shubinsky].
Yavarov: The Jewish Town of Yavarov [Yiddish and English], New York, 950 [by Sh Druk].
Zablotov: City of the Dead--Zablotov, Full and Destroyed, Tel Aviv, 1948 [Ed. M. Henish and Getzel Kressel].
Volkovisk: The Volkovisker Yizkor Book, 2 Vols, New York, 1949 [in Yiddish and English] [Ed. Dr. Moshe Einhorn].
Bialystok: Bialystok, New York, 1951 [Ed. David Sohn] A monumental pictorial album.
B'riansk: B'rainsk: Memorial Book, New York, 1948 [compiled by A. Truss and Sh. Cohen].
Horodetz: Horodetz: A Story of a Shtetl, New York, 1949 [Ed. E Ben Ezra].
Lachovitch: Lachowitz Memorial Book, Tel Aviv  [Ed. Yisroel Rubin and others].
Aishishok: Ishishok: Its History and its Destruction, Jerusalem, 1950 [Ed. Dr. Shaul Barkoli and Peretz Alafi].
With the publication of this Rakishker Yizkor Book, one can also include:
Rakishok: The Yizkor Book of Rakishok and Environs, Editor: Meilech Bakalczuk-Felin, published by the Rakishker Landsmanschaft in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Being prepared for printing are, among others, the following anthologies [collective works]: Chelm [in South Africa], Zamastch [in Israel], Kalish [in Paris], and Lomzshe [in Israel].
As far as we can see, the whole regionalistic literature is almost totally in Yiddish and Hebrew. Some books have English summaries [extracts]. Because of constraints of space, we have not given here any comment on these specific books. We have done this in another opus. [The Landsmanschaft Literature in the United States for the Last Ten Years, in the Year Book of Tashy?v 5712 [1951-1952] Tenth Volume, New York, 1951 [pages 81-96].
We have also not emphasized the literature that occupied itself specifically with the Nazi Destruction of the Jewish Communities in Europe because we have already published a whole series of works. [In Yiddish, in Jewish Fighters, Pesach Edition, 1950: Year Book 6710 and 5711 [1950-1951] 8th and 9th volumes; Pages for Jewish Education 1949-1950, New York Culture and Education April and May 1950, New York; Bialistokker Voice, September 1950 and September 1951; Lita, Volume 1.
In English: Jewish Social Studies, New York, October 1949, January 1950, and October 1951.
In Hebrew: Dapim [Pages], Book 1, 1950.
We have occupied ourselves in our work with the recording of the history of European Jewish Communities. The historiographical literature about Jewish settlements in Eretz Yisrael has a totally different character, as it reverts very often to the biblical and prehistoric period. It brings to bear, in part, an archaeological character and therefore must be dealt with separately. Also, these community monographs of new settlements that came into being or grew through the immigration of the last two or three generations [North and South America, South Africa, etc.] have a completely different set of problems than the old European settlements, and therefore merit another method of research [mainly sociological] and being dealt with separately.
6. A Short Summary
As we can see, the historical literature about the Jewish Communities and settlements is a rich one, but not homogeneous. In the 19th century it was, in Western and Central Europe, a rabbinic or professional literature, and in foreign languages. In Eastern Europe it was an amateur-bookish one [in Hebrew]. From the beginning of the 20th century, the monographic literature in Eastern Europe was dominated by historical professionals and went over mainly to the vernacular. First, with the growth of regionalist tendencies, monographic literature became emancipated from foreign influences and foreign languages. It now became concurrently scientific and the voice of the people. It is now exclusively Yiddish and Hebrew and finds a broad readership/circle, not only amongst the educated, but in the broad masses. The centre of gravity moves almost totally from Western and Central European communities to Eastern Europe. But in Eastern Europe as well, this literature is not evenly divided between certain geographic areas.
The Polish communities were the best adapted, in second place comes Lithuania, and far behind are the Ukrainian, Russian, White Russian, Vohlinian, and Bessarabian towns. There must still be many names to fill this conspicuous void [obvious emptiness].
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