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       CHILDREN OF DOLHINOV: A SMALL TOWN IN THE MIDST AND MIST OF HISTORY, p.1

           Barry Rubin
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CHILDREN OF DOLHINOV: A SMALL TOWN IN THE MIDST AND MIST OF HISTORY


  CHILDREN OF DOLHINOV:

  A SMALL TOWN IN THE MIDST AND MIST OF HISTORY

  BY

  BARRY RUBIN

  Dedicated to the memory of Haya Doba, Aharon, Haim, and Jacob Perlmutter; Samuel, Rikva, Leah, and Lev Grosbein; and Rachel, Yirimayahu, and Moshe Dimenshtein; to all the people of Dolghinov; and to a woman whose name I don’t know that once had a stall in the Paris flea market.

  "The story is told that long after he left Dolhinov and became a distinguished rabbi in America, Yakov Kaminetsky was one day sitting in a doctor’s waiting room when he spotted a Jewish boy who was obviously not religious. He grabbed a ball and began to play with the young boy. His assistant was amazed and later asked the rabbi why he had done that. Kaminetsky replied, “I saw that with this boy, it was useless to talk about Yiddishkeit or mitzvot. He came from a family so far removed from anything Jewish. I just wanted that to make him feel that a religious Jew is a good person. So I played ball with him. Who knows, perhaps this impression will one day have an effect on him and he will come closer to Torah and mitzvot."

  “There were so many good people at that time. I can't now name everyone. I've forgotten.

   Our writers should write about such people. Unfortunately our writers keep silence.”

  --Ivan Timchuk, 1946

  “I will now praise devoted men,

           our fathers, of every generation;

  whom the Most High assigned great glory,

           majesty, from days of old….

  their memory will endure forever,

       their faithfulness will not be blotted out….

   

  Their bodies are laid away in peace,

       their name lives on,  age to age;

  the assembly recounts their wisdom,

       the congregation rehearses their praise.”

 

  Ben Sira Ecclesiasticus 44:1, 7-15i

  It is a titanic story though one rather slow-moving by contemporary standards. In 79, the Temple destroyed, the Jewish rebellion crushed, the Romans enslaved thousands and deported them to Italy or southern France in order to extinguish the Jewish people forever. Yet they did not give up their religion or civilization. The Empire fell and the lights of civilization went out. Over almost one thousand years, their descendants moved ever northward and eastward, through the French-speaking lands into the German-speaking lands.

  And after almost another five hundred years of prosperity alternating with persecution, they went on again, northward and eastward into the Polish and Lithuanian-speaking lands. There they sojourned another five hundred years, often of grinding poverty and sporadically of serious oppression. Then, again they were on the move but faster and farther than ever. Some to lands unknown for most of that time, North America and even to Australia and South Africa; more still back to the Land of Israel, full circle two millennia after they were supposed to cease existing, back to almost the precise spot from which they had set out.

  “”Do not despise the lore that has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring.

  “One can write much more about our town, and if it does not have historical value, it is of interest to the descendants of our town, wherever they are, to see how life in our town evolved from generation to generation, and were it not for the fact that the Archevil One put an end to that life, who knows where this life would have reached.” Ivenets memoir

  “To see a world in a grain of sand,

  And a heaven in a wild flower,

  Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

  And eternity in an hour.”

  --William Blake, “To see a world”

  Table of Contents

  Prologue: Paris, 1963

  Chapter One: The Silence of a Noisy Past

  Chapter Two: The Long Road to Somewhere

  Chapter Three: Imagined Lives

  Chapter Four Polish Power

  Chapter Five: Stalin Comes to Dolhinov

  Chapter Six: The Shoah in Dolhinov

  Chapter Seven: “General” Timchuk and the Long March East

  Chapter Eight: The People’s Avengers Take Revenge

  Chapter Nine: BACK IN THE BSSR

  Chapter Ten: Everyone Dies; No One Need Be Forgotten

 

 
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