Kolki Yizkor Book Translation Project

Dear Friends interested in Kolki (Kolk) Russia / Poland:

My name is Brian Reiser, and I am writing to each of you as you have expressed an interest in ancestors from Kolki, Poland in the JewishGen Family Finder, or other JewishGen operations. Jewish communities have lived in Kolki (Kolk in Yiddish), at least since the late 16th century, until the Holocaust. In its history, Kolk has been part of Poland, Russia, and now is in the Ukraine (known as Kolky). But apart from records that may exist in Polish archives, the only record of our Jewish ancestors in Kolk is a book written in Yiddish, Fun Ash Aroysgerufn (Summoned from the Ashes). The book was written by Daniel Kac, published in Warsaw in 1983, and it has not yet been translated from the original Yiddish.

I am honored to be the coordinator of the Kolki Yizkor Book Translation Project under the auspices of JewishGen, and we are pleased to begin fundraising for the translation. The book is 399 pages, and consists of 37 chapters. The book includes a hand-drawn map of Kolk and the surrounding region, and 28 photographs that include a Kolk shul, and various individual and group photographs of people from Kolk. Translating this book will help us learn more about the shtetl of Kolk, its culture, and perhaps some of our ancestors.

I am also honored to work on this project with Andrew Katz, a member of the Kac family, who will be the editor and proofreader on the project. According to Mr. Katz, Daniel Kac's goal in writing the book "was to show that even from a small town like Kolki there were quite a few Jews who participated in the underground armed resistance during the war.  By implication he wanted to make a point that it is inaccurate to claim that Jews did not offer resistance to the Nazis and 'went to death like sheep to slaughter.'"

As you may know, JewishGen runs and has already completed a number of other Yizkor book translations. By having the translation project through JewishGen, the entire amount of any contribution will be used for paying the translator. As the book totals almost 400 pages and the average translation is $25 per hour, to translate the book in its entirety will require a healthy amount of donations. This will allow many of us to share in the blessing of making certain that our ancestors from Kolk are not forgotten. No contribution is too small!! (JewishGen does require a minimum of $10 for contributions.). This will likely be a project over several years. We do not expect the book to be translated all at once. Translation will begin once we have raised enough money for JewishGen to hire a translator, and will start with the table of contents and figure captions, and then will proceed with the text of the book.

Please look at the JewishGen Yizkor Book website for donations.

Scroll down to Kolki, Poland. JewishGen has numerous concurrent Yizkor Book translation fundraising programs, so it is important that you fill in the amount for Kolki! JewishGen accepts contribution. In order to double check that your contributions are correctly credited to the Kolki account, please let me know when and the amount of your contribution.

While at the site, you might find of interest a fund-raising program of JewishGen, the memorial plaques for the Yizkor books. The plaques remember your loved ones and can be placed on the Yizkor page of your ancestors' shtetl. Details about that program are available on the website.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will keep you informed of our progress. If you know of others interested in Kolk, please let me know or share this message with them.

Brian J. Reiser
Evanston, Illinois

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