Created by Holocaust survivors in memorial to the Jewish communities across Europe destroyed by the Shoah, Yizkor books try to capture a community destroyed almost in its entirety through photographs, lists of names of both survivors and the dead, descriptions of daily life and its institutions, and surviving documents. Often created from the memory of a single survivor, the Yizkor books are not errorless or perfect, but rather the attempt by the remnants of the community to remember and recreate what once was. Priceless for genealogists, historians, or descendants of that particular Jewish community, Yizkor books are rare, extremely limited in number (about 1000 in existence), and fragile. Many of these books were published in the early 1950s with low quality materials and are now in fragile condition.
They were acquired from survivors and rare booksellers worldwide and have become extremely difficult to obtain. As part of the Jay and Lonny Darwin Yizkor Book Collection, the Tauber Holocaust Library owns over 500 Yizkor Books, the fifth largest collection in the world.
The Tauber Holocaust Library has created an online list of our Yizkor book collection for research purposes. To view any of our Yizkor books please make an appointment with our library and archive staff.
Yizkor book resources at the Tauber Holocaust Library include:
Yizkor Books Online – a project of the New York Public Library– provides page-turner technology to read or consult crystal-clear digital images of complete Holocaust memorial books, exactly as issued.
The Yiddish Book Center offers digitized, reprinted bound volumes of Yizkor books for sale.
The Jewish Gen Yizkor Book Project provides access to English-language translations of some Yizkor books. The Jewish Gen Yizkor Book project also offers printed copies of English translations of Yizkor books.
From Memorials to Invaluable Historical Documentation: Using Yizkor Books as Resources for Studying a Vanished World by Michlean J. Amir: a paper delivered at the proceedings of the 36th annual convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries.
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