Yiskor Books also are known as Memorial Books. Yiskor, which means "May God Remember” is the Hebrew word for the Memorial Service for the Dead.  The Service includes a remembrance of the martyrs of all generations. Often a special prayer for the six million victims of the Nazis is recited.

Books are special.  The Telechan Memorial Book is but one of more than 700 such books that have been published, and there may be more in existence.[1]  These books convey remarkable and important stories.

Every Yiskor Book tells the story of a particular town or village (Shtetl) as written and published by former residents.  Each book is a collection of many articles, usually written by different people, and then compiled into one text.  The articles depict various aspects of life in the town.  Most Yiskor Books were published after the Holocaust.  They are the writers' personalized accounts and tributes to their shtetl, their family and friends who were killed in World War II.  The major emphasis is the fate of the town during the Holocaust.  Additionally, Yiskor Books usually contain some of the best available historical information about the shtetl.  The writers and publishers show great affection and sorrow for their hometowns that no longer exist.  Even if the town is still to be found on a map, its Jewish community has been eradicated.  The writers had a sense of the historical importance of the tragic events that destroyed their homes and felt a duty to record them.  Without these books a significant part of our history would be lost forever.

Additionally, Memorial Books contain historical articles about the location of the town, photographs of people and streets, maps of the area, and illustrations. They are a vital source of the names of Holocaust victims and survivors.  The lists of names are neither official nor complete.  They are based on the memory of the people who survived and compiled the material for the book.  Written primarily in Yiddish these books allow us, 50 to 100 years later, to ‘enter’ the historical towns of our families.  They are biographies of Jewish communities that no longer exist, but which, at one time was home to our relatives.  Without these accounts, this information about who we are would surely be forever lost in one or two generations.  We Ajzenbergs are fortunate that our family’s place of origin has its own memorial book.

Once again, our families have provided for us.

[1] This was originally written in 1990.  In 1996 I found a reference to “the 1000 plus Yizkor book collection” at Yad Vashem in Israel.