Memorial Book of Kremenets by Jonathan Wind
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Editor: Abraham Samuel Stein
Cover Art: Rachel Kolokoff-Hoper
The Jewish community of Kremenets was completely annihilated by the Nazi enemy along with the rest of the Jewish communities of Poland and Ukraine. Between 1 and 10 Elul 5702 [1942 CE], nearly 14,000 of the town’s Jews were slaughtered. Only 14, who hid in caves and among the rocky crags, managed to escape. The extermination was accomplished with a satanic cunning: the first to be slaughtered were the heads of the community, its leaders and intellectuals. Then the young people were deported, never to return, killed in “labor detachments.” The rest were locked in the ghetto, tortured, humiliated, and oppressed pitilessly. Stripped of strength of spirit and the ability to carry on, their national and human pride fell prey to unimaginable tortures-and when the bitter day arrived, they were defeated and slaughtered without even trying to mount an active, organized defense. Jewish young people, brave and proud, were plundered by the hands of evildoers.
So was destroyed and exterminated a magnificent community, capable and devoted, that wove its thread of existence for 500 years in an area that was a land of contention among Tatars, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Poles, and Russians. Amid all the political perversities, the Jewish community persevered, shaped and strengthened its way of life, lived through times of highs and lows, wrote brilliant pages in the history of Jewish Volhynia, and produced leaders and Torah greats, writers and intellectuals.
Year first published: 2020