Hasmonean High School for Girls Save Memory of Polish Shtetl

Young Women of Hasmonean High School for Girls Save Memory of Polish Shtetl
Written by Ariella Garren

Six months ago, dozens of young women at Hasmonean High School for Girls organised themselves to translate the memorial book of the town of Parysow, Poland from Yiddish into English.

Over a thousand such books have been written, memorializing the life of Europe’s Jewry prior to the Holocaust, and documenting their tragic fate, but almost all were written in local Yiddish dialects. Due to the ever-changing nature of Yiddish as a language, a few decades later even native Yiddish speakers have a hard time understanding these books.

Year 12 student Ariella Garren found one of these books while researching her translation of the memoirs of a Holocaust survivor, Abraham Gutrejman, and her schoolmates volunteered to help her translate the memorial book of Mr Gutrejman’s hometown.

Using their knowledge of Hebrew and of Judaism, online tools, and with the help of elderly Yiddish speakers in our community, these young women have immortalized the memory of the town, now available at cost on Amazon as “The Parysow Yizkor Book: Life and Death of a Shtetl,” volume one of two. They have also compiled a glossary of difficult-to-translate Yiddishisms to help future generations of translators.

Students in the United States have volunteered to join the movement for the next translation in the series.

Hasmonean High School would like to express its pride in these young women who have, at such a young age, already contributed something of enduring value to the world.

The young women, themselves, hope that by raising awareness of the brutal potential of the human race, their efforts may help avoid future genocides.