Compilation of Memories (Memoirs)
Introduction to our translation of Grandfather’s Diary
We got this diary from Uncle David, Abraham Keusch’s son. I, David L. Keusch, am the grandson of Abraham Hacohen Keusch and the son of Nathan Keusch. We decided that this family heirloom was to be used during Rosh Hashanah and Pessah, so that our children and grandchildren would learn about our grandfather and our family. We decided that the diary belonged to our extended family and a copy in the original Hebrew would be given to every child at their Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
The diary is important to us as it represents our family history of which we knew very little. Our parents grew up at a time of revolt against religion and tradition. They became free thinkers and refused to keep any connection with their past history. As such, our parents seldom talked about their home towns, their parents, grandparents and extended family. We were cheated and deprived of our past connection to our family chain. We were not smart enough to ask the questions when we had the opportunity.
Grandfather’s reason for keeping a diary was to be remembered by future generations. If you are not remembered, it is as if you never existed.
In August 2007, we decided to translate the diary from Hebrew to English so that all our grandchildren could learn about and continue our family chain. It was a much more monumental task than we expected. Some of the language was archaic; there were many Talmudic phrases and parables. We used dictionaries, the Hebrew/English site, Morfix and Kizur Hebrew (abbreviations) as well as Google in Hebrew. We entered some original Hebrew words and phrases that we thought appropriate and translated them. It took us almost two years to complete the first draft of the translation.
Our knowledge expanded: Jewish life in Eastern Europe and especially Galicia, the school and Cheder system, economics, the wood and tree business, World War I on the Eastern Front, early life in Palestine and the horrible massacres of our Jews by the local Ukrainian/Polish population.
This intensive involvement in the diary, made us realize that our lives are based on a pyramid of generations. We never realized how extensive our family tree was. It made us realize how much more we lost in the Shoah in addition to Uncle Aaron and Aunt Taube and their families.
Grandfather had an extraordinary memory for every detail, including names of anyone touching his life. As he wrote, when one writes and recalls a name, these people have lived and are remembered. This is even more important when we read about the small villages that are no more, whose Jewish inhabitants were murdered by the Gentile neighbors of these towns. There is no record except as mentioned in this diary.
Grandfather was concerned about the continuation of the family chain. שלשלת. Translating the diary convinced us that this family history should continue. We call upon our children and our grandchildren to record their lives and keep alive this tradition.
Ruth P. and David L. Keusch
Content last updated Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 08:10 PM Mountain Standard Time