Yizkor Books #YizkorBooks The Anski Journals ... Where are they? #yizkorbooks


Ronald D. Doctor <rondoctor@...>
 

One of the chapters in "Pinkas Kremenets", one of the Yizkor Books for
Kremenets, Ukraine (formerly in Poland) mentions that on one of his
visits there, Anski copied parts of the Kahal books. Here is the
translated passage:

"In the Great Synagogue, on 'the stand' [lectern], rested the
ancient community journals and prayer books, beautifully
hand-written in artistic calligraphy, practiced by students and
writers in Kremenets and Dubno since the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. In the open, for all to see, are the ancient documents of
the town and of the Jews >from the surrounding area. It never
occurred to the leaders of the community that such precious things
need to be well guarded in a locked place, safe >from rough and
irresponsible hands. The late Mr. Anski noticed it when doing his
research on Jewish folklore, during his travels through the towns
and villages of Vohlin. When he stayed in Kremenets for many weeks,
copying the handsomely written old notebooks, he advised the people
to guard those ancient journals, but they did not heed his advice
and continued to leave them exposed on the lectern. Among the people
of Kremenets – they said – “ancient articles” do not disappear, nor
are they considered very precious in their eyes. Take a peek in a
bookcase of any decent, learned Jew, and you can easily see a book
that is in the family for 200 or 300 years old, sometime even older.

"Indeed, Kremenets’ Jews had honored and held dear the history of
their nation. During the First World War and in the days of the
Great Russian revolution, a group of soldiers formed a Communist
Council. Their people wanted to erase the synagogue’s decoration of
a crown with two lions, which they considered to be like the symbols
of the nation they had just conquered. The Jews explained to them
that those are the ancient symbols originated in King Solomon’s
time, and the soldiers backed off and decided not to touch them. In
Kremenets they used to tell this during a relaxed conversation among
the town’s Jews; and, while enjoying a glass of tea in a nice house,
the host would entertain his guest with a page of the local
community’s history, like the ledger of the Benevolence Society,
“halavaot chen”, that the upstanding citizens had formed about 200
years ago, for lending money to the poor on mortgages, but without
interest.<>

<>Translator’s Note: halavaot chen means “fair loans”, or
“interest-free loans”

"In that ledger was recorded for posterity some other very
interesting information, including a detailed list for the Society’s
yearly meals menu, which consisted of 13 different kinds of foods,
among them stuffed chicken necks and gizzards. Among the charter’s
paragraphs there is an important one about the members’ social class
status, which stated that the membership is closed to the
professional craftsman and their descendants."

This passage was written by Rachel Amari, formerly Rachel Feygenberg,
about her 1928 visit to Kremenets. It is on page 155 of "Pinkas Kremenets".

Do any of you know if these portions of Anski's journal are available
anywhere?

Ron Doctor
Co-Coordinator, Kremenets Yizkor Book Translation Project, and
Co-Coordinator, Kremenets Shtetl CO-OP/Jewish Records Indexing-Poland

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