This stone shall be a witness unto us... (Joshua; 24; 27)

Benyamin Yaari: INTRODUCTION

Dear Reader,

On behalf of all those who worked in the Jewish cemetery in Czestochowa in this project, and those who worked on the writing and editing of this book, I ask for pardon and forgiveness, if, God forbid, the memory or honor of the deceased or their families were blemished during the field work or the recording of the headstones. All was done in attempt to preserve the memory and honor of the men and women of the Jews of the community of Czestochowa.

By way of introduction, I would like to share with you the events, which led to the publication of the list of extant tombstones registered at the Jewish cemetery of Czestochowa.

It was in 1994, while searching for my grandmother's grave at the Tomaszow Mazowiecki cemetery, that I first thought if registering the existing tombstones and, following their registration, to publish a book on the Jewish cemetery. The interest in the book was overwhelming. Soon after, several Polish-Jewish organizations in Israel asked me to do the same for the cemetery in their places of origin. Today, for many communities, Jewish cemeteries are the only physical traces of Jewish presence remaining.

In autumn 1996 I went to Poland to take a look at seven Jewish cemeteries. Upon my return, I presented my findings and gave suggestions. However, as it happened, the organizations did not have the manpower to take up my suggestions in situ. I therefore returned on my own to register tombstones in Czestochowa, Starachowice and Ostrowiec St. I made contact with the local residents and began to organize a work plan.

Later on, at the end of March 1997, I returned to Czestochowa to record the tombstones, where I met Mr. Tadeusz Dorosa from the Huta in Czestochowa and Mr. Aleksander Broda, the District Monument Conservator, both of whom were of great help. A young historian from Berlin, Martina Strachel, took part in the documentation project and her knowledge of Hebrew was of great importance. While on a tour of Jewish historical sites in Poland, about 200 youngsters from a youth group from Israel joined us as well. The results of our efforts are to be found in the enclosed list of the more than 2,000 tombstones registered.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Ada Holtzman, Dafna Harrari, Uri Ben Dor and Michael Chen, who with great devotion voluntarily gave of their time and effort to work with us.

Personally, there is great satisfaction in knowing we have brought to light the memory of those resting in the cemetery, once inhabitants of Czestochowa and active participants in its history. As well, this book is devoted to the living generations on whose behalf we sought to find traces of their dear departed loved ones.

 


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