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[Page 5]

“And you shall tell your son”

by the Book Committee

Translated by Sara Mages

It was not easy for us to publish the book, which we present with feelings of satisfaction and reverence for the survivors of Wolomin in Israel and the whole world. Years ago we expressed the idea of publishing a book about our destroyed community, a book that will reflect its history and unfold the full extent of its vibrant life in spirit and deed. However, we encountered countless obstacles, and most importantly - we could not find people who were willing to take on this sacred and responsible work.

Many destroyed communities, large and small, have been commemorated in books of testimony and remembrance, thanks to the efforts of their surviving members. Wolomin lagged behind in this area because our town was small and few are its survivors, but we had a strong desire for a great creation that would commemorate the holy and the pure of our community.

Whenever we talk about our beloved town, Wolomin, which was destroyed in the destruction of Polish Jewry, we are immediately reminded of Jewish Wolomin with its personalities, activists, people, institutions, and Jewish way of life. How precious was this town for us, where we were born and educated, and where we lived our peaceful childhood years.

[Page 6]

Only ruins, dirt and ashes, remained from our community, ashes of the terrible fire and ashes of our tortured martyrs. We only have a past there, without a shred of a future. We do not want to go back and erect our ruined and abandoned homes, we do not want to go back and plant new seedlings of life in the muddy soil that is saturated with the tears and blood of our victims. We left the Diaspora and will never return to it. We learned a lesson and felt the curse resting on that Diaspora, and now we working hard to see a blessing in our work in our homeland. Here, we are willing to accept with love the hardships of labor and the torments involved in building the homeland that has been desolate for many generations. The bridge to the Diaspora is burned and destroyed forever, and there is no way to return to the Diaspora of Poland.

Its holy inhabitants were desecrated by strangers, its spiritual values were lost, its assets plundered and set on fire - and the Jews, the bearers of these values and assets, were destroyed and no longer exist.

And we, the survivors, the few who were left after the Holocaust, what is to us in far away Poland without our brothers and sisters? What do we have in Wolomin? We cannot even visit our ancestors' graves, because we do not know where the graves are, and where are their tombstones.

Our loss is as great as the sea, and we have no consolation.

And yet, after all, we remained attached in our hearts to our town, Wolomin, as it once was, as it lives in our blood and in the depths of our souls.

The heart sighs and trembles with pain as we recall its sights and the picture of Jewish life from days gone by.

Now, this life has been silenced, and deathly silence reigns.

The voice of school children fell silent, the voice of Torah students in Beit HaMidrash fell silent, and the sound of joy and the sigh of mourning in the town's streets and alleys fell silent.

Jewish life ceases on weekdays and on the Sabbath, on holidays and festivals.

And only in our hearts will we be able to keep the precious memories of days gone by.

We, the few remnants of the Holocaust, feared that there would be no certificate of truth left for our community for future generations, and with awe and love we went to place a memorial for it.

We tried to weave chapters from the life of the town, life of toil and creation, material and spiritual, a vibrant life in all its forms and periods.

[Page 7]

Diverse Jewish life has grown in them and deepened their roots - should all this be lost after our death? Is it a decree that all the abundance of pictures and memories will fade and disappear?

Is it not our duty to convey the feelings of our hearts and the sights of our eyes from the days that have passed to our sons after us, to tell orally and in writing, so that they will also know that the history of a Jewish people is multi-generational history, history of efforts and difficulties of building, history of ruins, torments and riots, aspirations and failures - a history of thousands of years, and of two thousand years of exile in the Diaspora, until we returned here, to start anew and build a better future after the past was destroyed.

The next generations will find in this book, as in all memorial books for the victims of the Holocaust, testimony and sights of what was in the European Diaspora before the terrible destruction, and before all trace of Jewish life in Wolomin was erased.

We, the few who were privileged to join the builders of the homeland in the Land of Israel, felt that we had a sacred duty to place a monument to our community. We did not rest or be quiet until we finished the work - the sacred work.

And in this way we will sanctify the memory of our martyrs.

We cannot erect tombstones on their graves, because we do not know where the dust of the dead and the ashes of the burnt are scattered. Therefore, we will commemorate the memory of the lives of our holy ancestors in Wolomin before the Holocaust.

We will keep them in our memory, and pass on our memories to future generations, so that the memory of the dead will be preserved in the pages of this book.

We will light a perpetual candle in memory of the holy and the pure, in memory of the elation and devotion.

The book will be a monument for eternity!

[Page 8]

El Maleh Rachamim

God, full of Mercy
defender of widows and father of orphans
be not be silent or restrained
regarding the blood of the Jews which was split like water
grant proper rest beneath the wings of Your Presence
in the great heights of the holy and the pure
who like the brilliance of the heavens give light
and shine for the souls of the
martyrs of

WOLOMIN

men, women, boys and girls
who were killed, and slaughtered, and burnt,
and suffocated, and buried alive
all of them holy and pure
and He will bind their souls with the bond of life

Earth, do not cover their blood

[Page 9]

We will remember

These I will remember and pour out my soul within me.
For wicked people have swallowed us, like a cake, unturned.

The beginning of piyyut “Asereṯ hāRūgēi Malḵūt” for Yom Kippur

It's impossible to describe in words the destruction of the Jewish people over the years 5700–5705.

It is impossible to find an adequate expression to the magnitude of our grief over the loss of the six million Jews, holy and pure, who were murdered during the terrible destruction of the Jews of Europe.

It is impossible to find anyone who can lament the lamentation of this destruction.

We can do nothing now for these martyrs.

It is not even possible to erect a tombstone on their grave, because the accursed villains, who murdered them, burned their bodies and it is not known where their ashes are.

But we cannot forget them!

Although we cannot erect a stone monument on their graves, we can erect a spiritual monument for them.

This monument – the history of the town and the memories of its people – is a candle in their memory, so that they may live forever.

And we will end with a prayer that is also the end of piyyut “Asereṯ hāRūgēi Malḵūt” [“The Ten Royal Martyrs”] for Yom Kippur:

Gracious One! Look down from Heaven,
at the spilled blood of the righteous, and their life blood.
Look from the place of Your holy Presence and remove all stains,
Almighty, King, Who sits upon a throne of mercy!


[Pages 10-16]

Thus Have We Begun

by Shmuel Zucker

The desire for continuity, for ongoing life and creation, always goes together with a strengthened sense of the beauty and the value of the past, for the history of one's own people, for the soulful and spiritual in its former home, and therefore each person feels the powerful command–

“And you shall tell it to your children!”

This desire to transmit to future generations the living well from which our fathers and grandfathers drank circulated among the Jews of Wolomin wherever they found themselves after the great devastation, in Israel, in both Americas, and in a variety of European countries.

Each of us has been filled with the desire to eternalize the life and environment of our shtetl.

Natives of Wolomin before the Second World War were scattered in different countries and lands, but in their minds they brought with them the heartfelt warmth of their old home, the idealism, the initiative and activity of their youth, which gave them zest and stature in their foreign lands. Volomin Jews participated in community activities wherever they went.

So was it, too, in Israel. We were few, and our activity was always limited, satisfied with moral, and often material, help for new arrivals.

However, we always made an accounting that if we lagged behind other remnants of destroyed Jewish communities in Poland, that we have not repaid our great debt, that we are guilty regarding our martyrs.

That debt weighed heavily in our hearts, but we were too few and too poor to fully repay it.

It must never be thought that we have for even a moment forgotten our obligation to the martyrs. Every year we have held a memorial service, just like our compatriots in America and Argentina.

As witnesses we cite the announcements in the Yiddish newspapers, where Wolomin natives were called on the fourteenth of October, the day to memorialize the dead, the yahrzeit of Wolomin's Jews killed by the German murderers.

In these announcements, people of Wolomin were called on not to forget to kindle a light and give honor to the five thousand Jews who on that day made their last journey from the Sosnovke Woods to the hell of Treblinka.

Truly, the daily worries, needs, and too often the sorrows incline us to forget the great misfortune that befell our people. It happens, too, that we are simply incapable of understanding the mass slaughter that struck our former home.

A day comes, however, when we are reunited with our martyrs. we all,. people of Wolomin, who find ourselves in Israel and in other lands around the world, remember our martyrs, our dearest and most loved, who in the recent past, only several decades ago, lived and hoped to see in the future a better, more peaceful and more beautiful life.

They did not live to see it.

We must remember, therefore, and take care not to forget them, remember and recall all the true Jews of our shtetl, that their lives and their memorials should be preserved.

We must consider that those in Treblinka, where such slaughter was unloosed by the German murderers and their Polish cohorts to solve the “Jewish question” in Wolomin, that there lie in huge communal graves the bones of those whose last wish as they surrendered their holy souls, was that we, the living, wherever we may find ourselves, must preserve their memory, must be united in warning and reminding the world of the most murderous slaughter of people in human history.

We remember with gratitude the activities of the Wolomin Association in America who helped with great devotion in the publication of this Yizkor Book. They helped not only with money but also with moral support, calling on Wolomin survivors to help with materials, with testimonies, documents, and pictures.

Here is one of the last appeals that the committee in America distributed to the Wolomin Association:

Announcement to All People of Wolomin

At the last memorial that was held on October 17, 1969, it was decided to extend until the middle of January, 1970, the deadline for materials in order to accommodate all who have not yet sent them in. But we add, whoever does not contact friend Joshua Adelson by that time should know that he alone is responsible for not perpetuating his near and dear, and that will be a sin that cannot be forgiven, and no one can complain about it.

Attention:

  1. Sit down soon to write what you think is acceptable. You do not have to be fastidious with your language, because it will be corrected by a specialist.
  2. Photos should be labeled with the names of those who are pictured.
Every submitter should send on a separate sheet the names of his departed family members. You can write in any language you choose. The material should be sent to

S. Adelson, 1836–48th Street, Brooklyn, NY

P.S. This is the last announcement

Respectfully,
The Committee

We living have committed ourselves to the sacred obligation of erecting a monument for all those whom we will never forget.

That we will do in the Yizkor Book for our annihilated shtetl Wolomin.

Therefore we have distributed letters, circulars, and announcements to all of our fellow citizens in Israel and around the world.

Here is one such announcement that we sent out three years aago, before the publication of the Yizkor Book:

To All the People of Wolomin in the World!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Twenty–four years have now passed since the destruction of our ruined native city Wolomin. It hurts our hearts and there is no consolation.

A horrible slaughter that has no parallel in the history of martyrdom of our people was perpetrated by Hitler's hordes in our shtetl.

Of generations of Jews and Yiddishkeit, only huge common graves remain, without monuments, without the least memorial, which should cry out to the world the awful tragedy that happened there.

We have been searching and trying for years to make amends for our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and all our relatives whose bones are scattered and are still unburied–from Sasnover Woods to Treblinka, Maidenek, and Siberia.

Our nearest and dearest surely murmured in their last minutes, with bloody lips–“Remember us!” Therefore we have undertaken to immortalize their memory in a Yizkor Book, which will make amends for our martyrs and for the coming generations–an eternal. memory.

We must gather everything that ties us to our dear destroyed home, so that we know how to erect a monument.

It is we upon whom lies the obligation to memorialize our slaughtered nearest and dearest.

Let this announcement be before your eyes until this sacred obligation will be fulfilled.

Every landsman is requested to send material about our old home (religious and social life, places and characters) and about the destruction, and also necrologies of the murdered and dead, possibly accompanied by photographs and documents–to the address of the secretary:

Dr. Sarah Mandelberg, 44 Montefiore Street, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Organization of Wolomin Exiles in Israel

*

We have been successful in appointing as editor of this sacred task Shimon Kantz, and it is a pleasure for us to see how he is filled with our enthusiasm, even though we have as yet no materials for the book. Under his organizations directions, we have directed our efforts toward collecting them. Documents and memories, episodes and pictures. Little by little our modest building has grown, the memorial book to the memory of our native shtetl Wolomin.

We seek no professional writers and no historians; only the shocking suffering in the form of horrible mass death opened our dumb lips and made them speak. Each individual note, even if it is written with a gentle smile, is an expression of concentrated sorrow. Therefore every recollection, every line has its place and its value in this book–a monument which will remember our nearest and dearest.

The heart weeps for the tortured, for the lost ones, but heir bright memory draws from us a strong and encouraged heart, so that their deeds should make a repair in our ongoing, illuminating project.

Talking about all these places, our hearts are suffused with love and recognition of each one who was but now exists no longer.

Speaking of them, we see also the faces of our parents, brothers, and sisters–of all those who are a part of our body and soul.

Those of us who merited to be saved from the awful slaughter have standing before our eyes the ancient commandment that is engraved for us in letters of fire and blood:

“Remember what Amalek did to you!”

The Amalek of the twentieth century.

This is truly the function and expression of this book:

Not random memories from the distant and recent past, not simply a memorial light for the pure and holy souls who died all manner of horrible deaths. Writing down our memories, we felt the necessity to bring forth the special brightness of the everyday Jews in our shtetl.

May it give coming generations deep knowledge of the Jewish beauty which has been destroyed.

With bowed heads and folded hands we stand by our modest memorial to our destroyed Jewish community in Wolomin, and we unite it with the holy memory of the murdered martyrs.

Let the outcry from this memorial book not be quieted or unheard for many generations.

They, our fathers and grandfathers, with their whole spiritual lives, in all the wonderful colors of Jewish beauty, gave us the belief in our historic role, the understanding and the great feeling of responsibility about our endeavors.

By the red light of their flowing blood we swear:

We will never forget!

Organization of Wolomin Exiles from in Israel

Let Them Rise for the Blessing

Those who have true, self–sacrificing devotion and determined wills to publish the Wolomin Yizkor Book with the moral and financial aid that helped with collecting materials and encouraging us with words and deeds.

Yehiel–Yehoshua Adelson
Shimon Vishnievski America
Saul Rosenbloom

Shmuel Vinograd
Eliezer Vagman Argentina
Shmuel Manne
Moach Schultz

[Page 17]

Wol017.jpg

 

“Remember what Amalek did to you”

by Shamay Baum,
chairman of the organization of former residents of Wolomin in Israel

Translated by Sara Mages

Jewish Wolomin was and is no more. Together with its Jews it was wiped off the face of the earth without a trace, and there is no possibility of discovering its past.

This is what the enemies, the Amalekites of the twentieth century, intended, and their plot was largely successful. The total destruction that came upon our community, as to other Jewish communities in Poland, ruled out any possibility of gathering material and accessing sources, searching and finding information and documents. Without them, only one source remains, the power of human memory that allows us to reconstruct, to the proper extent, the segments of our recent past.

[Page 18]

Wol018.jpg
The memorial in 1968

 

…and so we mourn our loved ones, the martyrs of the Holocaust, and commemorate their memory. May every day, every hour in our lives be imbued with the idea of memory.

Therefore, we made an effort to draw from this spring, to weave chapters from the life of the town, life of matter and spirit, in all their forms and periods.

Indeed, the way to achieve them was not at all easy throughout the preparation of the book. Difficulties and restraints filled the whole way: absolute lack of material in the areas of the life of the Jews of Wolomin; searching for information in various forms as a substitute for non existing material, non–response, sometimes even unfortunate and disappointing, on the part of former residents of our town to all our requests for material, information and memories, and even as to the list of names of the deceased and the martyrs from their families.

What has been said will serve as an explanation for the questions that readers of the book may ask about alleged discrimination, omissions versus repetitions, on speech reduction versus speech expansion. Hence, also the explanation for the lack of equal appreciation of personalities, or for the lack of appreciation at all, failure to address the importance, or existence, of an institution, and maybe cases of inaccuracy in names, dates and the like.

On the other hand, there is great satisfaction from the many achievement points in the book.

[Page 19]

Wol019a.jpgg
 
Wol019b.jpg
Mrs. Chaya Rubinstein lights the candles at the memorial meeting for the martyrs of Wolomin

 

Future generations will find in this book, as in all books of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust, testimony and understanding to what was in our town before the great destruction, and before any trace of Jewish life was erased there.

It was clear to us all that in light of the situation regarding the material, its quantity and quality, special dedication is required on the part of the editor, such as searching for material in broader areas, vigorous collection activity, special editing while recognizing the uniqueness of our community, willingness and ability to deal with what we have and lacking, a clear feature of enthusiasm and creativity to complete what is missing, difficulties in dealing with the material submitted, dealing in various ways, mostly known and understood.

We saw, and knew, the dedication of the editor to his work at all stages of the preparation of the book.

We have also found in this work a kind of consolation in our grief, and a preservation of the past that will not be forgotten from the heart of future generations.

May the “Book of Wolomin” be kind of a bridge between the past, which ended with such great cruelly, and the future whose sun rises before our eyes.

May we succeed in discovering the source of beauty and purity, the moral power by which we have been able to withstand for all generations, against every wave of evil that comes to swallow us, and thanks to them they proved, in days of panic and confusion, devotion and courage, and sanctified the name of the Jewish nation.

[Page 20]

May these few lines be like a stone in the monument for our town, Wolomin.

There used to be a Wolomin community and it is no more.

It was cut down from the multi–branch tree of Polish Jewry by German murderers.

Its memory remains in the hearts of dozens of its survivors scattered around the world, most were absorbed in the homeland, in the State of Israel.

May the book be a monument and an eternal memory!

Yitgadal v'yitkadash…

I will carry with lamentation and wailing

Wolomin my town,
How I will carry with lamentation and wailing,
For your Jews because they are gone,
For their destruction and loss.

I am silent, suffocating a sigh all my life,
But the shouts of pain were not silenced,
The pure shouted from generation to generation;
We will remember them forever.

In their sacred memory,
We will dedicate our memories,
We will pray Kadish
And will dedicate our thoughts.

 
Wol020.jpg

 

[Pages 21-22]

May God Remember
the Souls of Our Martyrs

by Shmuel Zucker

Where are our dear Jews?

From year to year the dust of their bones settles in the Wolomin ghetto and in Siberian woods.

Where are the Jews who with sun–, wind–, and frost–browned faces, with beards and with big boots, trudging, fatigued, half–asleep contemplated a chapter of the Psalms, with an occasional glance toward heaven and a hope for a better tomorrow?

Where are Leibush Farber and Ephraim Avry, who used to sit with their pale faces and learn from the huge, tattered Gemaras and argue about the finer points until late in the day?

Where are those who said the morning prayers with their eyes showing worry and trembling over the problems of making a living, clasping their tallis and tefillin like the greatest treasures, attending the early minyan so they would not be late for work, in order to have an income for their wives and children.

Where do the fathers and mothers sit who used to cry out to God to help make a match for their ageing unmarried daughters.

Where are the Roses and Hannahs–the mild dealers who used to get out of bed at dawn in order to carry milk canisters from house to house to earn a bit of bread?

Where are the schoolboys whom Fishele the teacher showed the letters in the book of Exodus with a wooden stick: “A” “A” “B”…

Where are the older students, with their drawn white cheeks who, in the dark early morning stillness used to pour water on their fingers, study by the light of a candle until late in the winter nights until the words “Happy is the man” [Psalm 1] was engraved deep in their hearts?

Where is the young man who used to go behind the green trees in the woods on summer Shabbos afternoons with books of Yiddish and European literature and dreams of the highest ideals?

And where is the young man who filled in the spots of “Gordonia,” “Hashamir ha–tzair,” “Hechalutz ha'tzair,” “Klal tzionim,” “Maccabee,” “Y.L. Peretz,” “Max Nordau,” and others which filled the streets with their songs, dances, and debates, and others who were attracted to the Red Banner and other ideals?

May their memory be honored.


[Page 23]

On the threshold

by Shmuel Zucker

Translated by Sara Mages

A

What can be said at the opening of this book, and not said in its pages, which contain the memory of its past and the images of its personalities, its vibrant life, nobility and inspiration, the greatness and the destruction of the community of Wolomin.

Indeed, Jews built and developed it, generations invested their energy and skills, and it became a Jewish town, a hive of activity and creation, delightful life and good virtues, lofty ambitions and love of Zion and Israel.

From between the lines rises in the reader's imagination a storm of life, a pulse of talent, action and diligence, a frequent war for existence, stubbornness and optimism, love of the nation and mankind, a world of righteousness and Torah, Zionism and pioneering, workers' and youth movements - a Jewish nation on a small scale, a warrior and creator nation, proud and brave.

[Page 24]

The short life of the community of Wolomin has been powerful and active in all areas of human effort, in economics and organization, spiritual creation and public leadership, in Torah and good deeds.

The people of Wolomin were active and vigilant, worked and studied, dreamed of redemption and fought for their existence.

Indeed, it was an existence under constraints that was difficult to adapt to, yet, at the same time, it was a life full of intensity, full but subdued, rich and modest.

The Holocaust completely destroyed it, as it erased hundreds of other Jewish communities from the face of the earth. Evidence and documents were destroyed.

The only source available to us, to the proper extent, for our recent past, is the power of human memory. That is why we strived to draw as much as possible from this spring.

Obviously, we are well aware that human memory is deficient and mistaken, but, on the other hand, we also know that this spring will not always flow and the sooner we draw from it - the better for our cause.

 

B

The sight of grief and joy, of flocks of pigeons working in building their nest is always touching the heart. They come, from time to time, in flight, with a bustling chirp and a lot of noise, and in their mouths a dry leaf, a straw stalk, a grain of dirt, a bit of clay, or any crumb, a contribution of building materials for the construction of their dwelling for the future to come.

I have often followed this vision in nature, and also read a lot about it in the descriptions of writers who are well versed in the way of life of birds, but I do not know if this is truth, and I have not found it written, whether the flock of pigeons carry the building material only with joy or also with lamentation, only with passion or also with tears.

It turns out, that even in tears, because the pigeon's nest is well built - is there a better glue than a tear?

[Page 25]

And it turns out, even in lamentation, if not, what is that sweet-bitter melody that comes out from the chirping of the pigeon while doing its work, to warm and suck the attentive soul that follows every voice by force, a voice of glory, a voice of a song, and a voice in tears?!

The same lament also erupts from the work of the people of Wolomin, the remains of the remains, as they excitedly convey building materials, sparks of memory, dry leaves from the great tree of life, crumbs of impressions, a short story or description, a photo of landscape and face, a song, a moan and a drawing. Every sound and echo from the past - not for the sake of building a nest for the future to come, but the image of the nest in the past, a heavenly nest for the town below, a nest in a dream, a nest inspired by the soul of the destroyed body, a tombstone of feelings of love and longings. Their inside is lined with tears of fire for their town, their birthplace.

 

C

I was not among those who brought up memories and carried building materials for I am not a son of Wolomin, but circumstances led me to be the conductor of the work, and how surprised I was to see their great love for their town, the intensity of the thirst of each and every one of them who said to the well of memories: “rise!”

I saw the main concern of each member of the Wolomin organization to add in it, to bring up another character and another vision, so that, God forbid, the memory of one soul, of one of the community's dignitaries or one of the poor, one of the richest men in the community or one of the teachers, would be lost.

I saw how the remnants of Wolomin awoke, in Israel and abroad, and immediately sent their contribution, in writing and orally, long and short chapters of memory, and the short was no different from the long, for even the short content was full of great love.

And at the same time, great is the pain, the pain of the sons who left their home and walked happily to the distances to establish their status in the world.

Indeed, there were not many who dared to leave in time and prepare places of refuge, and new focal points, for the existence of the State of Israel in its ancient homeland and in the new world, and in all these new places they left their mark. The bond of emotion between them, and their town, developed and followed them into the distance, until the terrible Holocaust arrived.

[Page 26]

Therefore, it is no wonder that since entering the company of these people I was immediately caught up by their enthusiasm, my imagination opened up and I saw myself as a son of Wolomin for everything, to the same addiction to doing, serious consideration and dedication to collecting, filtering and writing, editing, printing and fundraising, and then I felt what set Wolomin apart from the rest of the holy communities.

 

D

The reader will be proven, by the detailed descriptions, that all the colors of the rainbow were represented in Wolomin, from the extremist Hasidim to the Communists. There were many craftsmen there: shoemakers and leather workers, tailors and glaziers, blacksmiths, carpenters, bakers, butchers, carters and peddlers, who came out of attics and cellars and engaged in all kinds of crafts that encompassed the needs of life in those days. Their lifestyle of all these was not easy. They worked hard to support themselves, ate bread and blessed God on it. Without any resistance the body accepted the supreme authority of the spirit and voluntarily gave it a status of honor because in the inner life system there was no authority forcing its will by force.

The Jews of Wolomin did not neglect their education and culture even in the most difficult moments. Their main concern was to provide an education to their sons. There were many educational institutions in the town, cheders and Talmud Torah, in which Jewish boys studied the Torah from the age of four.

In the early morning hours boys were seen in the streets rushing to their schools, to the cheders to study the Torah from the rabbi, and to the elementary schools. Upon graduation from the cheder, there were those who turned to the yeshiva which was the highlight of traditional education.

Mentally, and spiritually, the Jew in Wolomin felt himself in a place that allowed life, as much as it was possible on a foreign soil, under the nose of hostile rule. The rule, which was indeed a tyrannical rule, had not yet penetrated all the cells of life, and as far as the Jews could ignore it and forget its reality, they had done so.

[Page 27]

The richest Jew, and the poorest Jew, found their spiritual elation in our square letters and their main pleasure was a page of Gemara, a chapter of Mishnayot, sections from Ein-Yaakov, paragraphs in “Chayei Adam” [“The Life of Man”], or just the recitation of psalms in public or in privacy, each one according to its rank and the society he belonged to. Each of them integrated into the society that suited him, and came to his satisfaction, not only the satisfaction of the soul, but also the satisfaction of pleasure and enjoyment, literally, the Jews were renewed and refreshed spiritually.

 

E

In the first generations, as well as in the last generations in Wolomin, they had to fight for air and light, for right and honor, for work and livelihood, but when there was an opening, even the tiniest, for the possibility of comfortable life and action, a wave of initiative, talent and ability to act, arose among the masses and the individuals, and there was no corner in, and around the town, where the constructive hand of the Jews of Wolomin did not work.

And who can recall, without a shudder, the boundless idealisms, the total devotion of the Zionist activists, the flame of courage and the sacrifice of the pioneering youth. And from the pages of the book we hear the singing, or the hora dance, around the camp fire in the woods. And indeed, there was hardly a boy or a girl who did not belong to a youth movement in the town, and their activities were tense, full of content, emotion and enthusiasm, for the sake of pioneering fulfillment in Eretz Yisrael.

With love and longing the people of Wolomin recall their movements, tell their experiences, shed light on their concerns, victories and failures, and also on their relationship with each other.

Each review was written by members of the movements and parties. The writers have been given complete freedom to tell the history of their organizations and parties, and the reader will be able to make comparisons and find the unifier, the synthesis in life and the struggle that caused the rise and fall of the Wolomin community, which was destroyed and will no longer arise like the suffering Polish Jewry.

The Jews of Wolomin felt that they were part of the great Jewish nation, which was advancing towards its resurrection and redemption, and was unwilling to buy their equality at the cost of sacrificing its uniqueness and resurrection.

[Page 28]

In this book we present detailed chapters on the way of life. They reflects the daily life of the Jewish public, changes that have taken place in their way of life over time, and also interesting chapters on the activities of public figures, who acted independently, through their parties and the trade unions.

Great value is known for their public vigilance, thirst for knowledge and Torah, willingness to do good deeds, and the provision of social assistance not for the sake of receiving a reward. In this Yizkor Book we bring up the noble figures of wise scholars, community leaders, public activists, and humble, simple and poor people that no one would carry a festive speech in their honor. However, those who saw them in their insult and greatness, well-being and controversy, despair and hope, joy and sorrow, got to know them, their way of life, their thoughts and experiences - and know to tell about them and themselves, describe their wisdom and intelligence, holiness and all their lofty virtues.

In addition, chapters of general and family memories are also presented, and they expand the scope of acquaintance with social and family life in Jewish Wolomin.

 

F

There is no doubt that if a person, who specializes in Jewish social sciences, received the material presented in this book before it was printed, he could have written a comprehensive and profound work on the history, life, essence, contents, culture and the society of the young community.

However, we did not pretend to utilize to the fullest all the development processes of the community, its struggle and all its inner aspirations. Everything written here is the work of the people, who were not, and do not pretend to be Jewish writers. In this, we see the special value of the book that is characterized by simplicity and directness.

The sole duty of this book is to serve as a living testimony to a community that perished in the horrors of the Holocaust, as described by its sons, builders and survivors in Israel and the Diaspora.

The role the editorial staff was to fulfill this first task. Indeed, this is how the action involved in collecting, filtering, editing, and printing it as a book of remembrance for the Wolomin community was defined.

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In this period of documenting and commemorating Jewish life in tens and hundreds memorial books, the time of the researcher, and the historian, has not yet arrived. The generation, which felt the horrors of the Holocaust that befell our nation, is still alive. No research work today will succeed in encompassing the dimensions of destruction on the one hand, and establishing a perfect and uniform architectural structure that will describe life in all its various shades on the other.

Therefore, the way the editors of the memorial books have taken is reasonable. To provide documentary material, collect documents, impressions, testimonies, articles and stories, which will serve as living testimony to destroyed Jewish communities, and provide a faithful source for scientists and historians when they come to build a scientific and historical building for a third of our people who perished in the Holocaust. This building will be a source of life and inspiration for our generation, and for future generations after us.

The time has not yet come to build the scientific building. Our dead are still standing before our eyes, the pillars of smoke are still rising in our former homeland, and the bloody rivers of Nebusaradan [chief of slaughter] are still boiling and roaring loudly.

This is not the time to write a comprehensive work for our generation that has experienced the Holocaust in all its anger and rage.

 

G

The specific nature of this book presented the author of these lines with both simple and complicated problem: how to edit?

The nature of the matter requires that this tombstone, which many hands create it and is connected from donations of many hearts, bustling and cuddling, and by many mouths shouting aloud, “it is a pity for those who are gone,” will not be made of one piece and will not reach the heights of a temple whose angels are sculpted. It was easy to write all the materials in a uniform style, in the style of the editor, and the printed book will appear in explicit, elegant, beautiful and meticulous language.

However, this was not the goal that stood before us when we approached the work of writing and editing, the collection of articles, notes and memoirs of the residents of Wolomin, a simple and bustling Jewish town. We wanted that the memories and descriptions will describe the life of the and the individual, the special and the unifying, the equal and the unequal side, not to see a face of a person and a town, but the face of a resident of Wolomin, a town near Warsaw the capital of Poland.

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We wanted them to deliver in their words, and in their notes, faithful echoes of the way of speaking and writing as preserved in their memory, the way of life, a fine riddle and a juicy joke, as heard in streets and the houses of Wolomin.

Therefore, there was great value in accurate editing that does not detract from the initial juiciness of the written words, and even if they are written in weakness, but are honest and modest, they work on us not only in their renewal, but also in that they are above all old and new - in the vibration of the soul.

These are the principles that confronted the editor: the escape from effect and aesthetics, so to speak, to the pursuit of truth and its responsible meaning; examining the sources and accumulation of precise details. However, in contrast to the manner of dry scientists, and poetic writers, I was mostly inclined to the authentic expression and left the articles as they were written. Then, I edited it twice until we put out a proper thing under the right conditions And yet there is no lack of personal depth which expresses, in the symbol of the word, the essence of the soul, and leads to the hidden corners of the soul, and even if the word is weak, it is full with yearnings.

Such is the magic in the stories and the articles in the book of Wolomin: the grace of popular simplicity that emerges from the writings by the survivors of the intelligentsia, the community and party activists, those enthusiastic young people, dreamers and warriors, whose heads have turned gray over time; each with a chapter from his memoirs. Everyone and his own world, style and ways of expression, but to our eyes they seem to fill and complete one great world, to which we return with a new awakening and enthusiasm, for when we return to them we become acquainted with ourselves and return to our source.

 

H

In the following pages the readers, those who grew and educated in the town and its memory is etched in their hearts, and those who only know its name but the sentimental affinity, or emotions, will motivate them to flip through the book dedicated to their parents' roots, will find a picture of a rich and diverse town and a gallery of different characters and personalities.

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And they will become one earpiece, of heart and ear, and listen to whispers of prayers and whispers of love, to the abundance of echoes of riddles of life and secrets of man, and they will be able to breathe the air of the world that sunk, been destroyed and knows no peace.

And if anyone will ask about the small town, about the light hidden within it, the magic and the glow that has disappeared, if it still has a name and memory in the hearts of its sons, the preacher will tell him: on the contrary, open this book and read it, as you go through broken hearts, you go through the pages of this book, in which beating hearts embrace generations of our ancestors and the vision of the landscapes. Read and see that the charm of the town is like a seal in the hearts of its sons. Weren't these simple words of the people of Wolomin torn from the mourning heart of a bound and slaughtered nation? Could it be that a tone of ancient prayers of lamentation, which were murmured by the martyrs in their last moments, did not quiver in them!?

These writers who experienced the horrors, and the sights of the massacre sank into the depths of their souls, and the reader, will find here a horrific account of what happened in the Wolomin community and chapters of horror, suffering and desperate struggle of individuals, who suffered and went through terrible agony until they were privileged to see the fall of the Nazi beast. Therefore, the heart will sigh for the resurrection of its sights and their salvation from the flame of annihilation, for their preservation in the treasure of memories.

The book contains human documents that shock the reader to the core, and testimonies of crimes and murders that a person cannot deal with. In a silent outpouring the survivors present their pain, the pain of the tortured, and a cry of protest is heard in it, the cry of all those who have been slaughtered, whose blood was shed like water. This prayer is full of rage and bitterness, shock and horror that have sunk into the depths of their souls and become part of their being. Chapter after chapter they bring up the changes in the town and in people's hearts, the horrors and terror, the sufferings and heroism in its various forms in those terrible days.

 

I

And great is the measure of gratitude and blessing that the editor owes to those who helped him in obtaining all this material.

I would like to express my gratitude to the members of the Book Committee, the workers

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and activists, each according to his ability, for their constant vigilance and consistent interest in all matters concerning the book.

The secretary of the Wolomin organization, Dr. Sarah Mandelberg, who contributed a lot to the success of the enterprise and in her lists gave a faithful expression to the life of the community in Wolomin, is entitled to a special appreciation.

In appreciation and respect I will mention the dedicated work of Mr. Shamay Baum, Chairman of the Book Committee, for his daily activity of preparing and publishing the book.

My deepest appreciate to the Deputy Chairman of the Book Committee, Mr. Shmuel Zucker, who devoted his energy and talent to collecting and editing the material.

My thanks are given to the members of the committee: Tzipora Bondy-Einderstein, Malka Grinszpan -Tamari, Yisrael Levitau, Yosef Eisenberg, Malka Greenberg-Yelin and Alter Carmeli.

 

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