Translated from Yiddish by Judie Ostroff Goldstein

The subjective element, those who experienced events and automatically, the individual manner of seeing events – puts a stamp on all the descriptions of the Czyzewer Jews and are factors, as they do not pretend to be all encompassing and answer all the problems that emerged in various eras.

Only the first articles about one-time Czyzewo are an attempt to find the synthesis of the economic development process of the Jewish community in Czyzewo. In all the articles, which are in the part “Between The Two World Wars”, there is a tendency to analyze the facts and events. These are imparted as memories, warm and simple. It is important to mention the proficiency, in all cases, of the people who wrote articles. Examples of this are the works about the Jewish Community Council and about Tzentos (children's homes/orphanages) and the Merchant's Union. They bring out important scholarly problems that first had to be systematically and fundamentally elaborated.

The memories about the Zionist youth organizations are told with love and enthusiasm. They can be useful not only in studies of the shtetl, but also in studying the Zionist movement in Poland.

The part “Way of Life” and Folklore takes you further into the large feuds caused by the Hasidim and Mitnagdim (those opposed to Hassidism) shoykhet (ritual slaughterer) and the various institutions, types of people and images that created the flavor of the village.

The important entries are the eyewitness accounts by those who miraculously were survivors and who describe clearly everything that happened during the Holocaust in the Czyzewo ghetto.

From the ghetto material you can see that the Germans were in no small measure responsible for precipitating the annihilation of morality. People forced Jews into physical closeness, in order to intensify their spiritual distance. It is true there was a moral decline by those who worked on behalf of the Germans. But there was no stealing and looting, no scenes of Jewish cruelty, of detachment from the suffering of brothers. There were also no cases of suicide.

There is an interesting description by I. Dawidowicz of the town today, almost twenty years after its destruction. “The screams of the murdered hang over the houses and people. The confusion that has been visited on the Poles is seen in all the misfortune that came to the town, the hand of justice and persecution for helping murder the Jews who truly built the town.”

One senses in the articles the reliability of the various people who brought out facts from oblivion.

The entire town was used as an important and valuable source of material. It serves the historian as a basis for research and scholarly synthesis and as a source to create material to illuminate our fundamental problems, but does not give any clear answers.

Despite the lack of analysis, these simple people created descriptions that give us a picture of life and death of the Jewish population in Czyzewo. The historian can learn about the way of life and the struggle led by the Czyzewo Jews to exist. Small articles, facts and figures give an idea about community activities that were of course led by parties (political) and organizations. The immense vitality, the great will to live and endure which existed even in the worst ghetto conditions will be found in these pages.

The characteristic common to all the articles, even the drier, documentary material, is the warmth with which they are written. This is the warmth of the Czyzewo Jew that he guards even in far off places.
Szymon Kanc

Shma Yisroel

(Hear, O Israel)

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Take a look and see, there is such suffering here,
my suffering, that is my burden. (Lamentations)