There are very few physical traces left of the former Jewish inhabitants of Trzemeszno in the city. Currently, the most important are the cemetery and the matzevot (the tombstones). Many more traces can be found in the archives and, as it appears, all over the world. One such trace was found in The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem (CAHJP) by historian Jason B. Bley, whose family roots go back to the Gniezno area. It is a 10-page "Book of Memory" (Yiddish: Yizkor Buch), which, as we learn from the final annotation, is a copy of the original book from the Trzemeszno synagogue which burned down in 1885. It is written in Hebrew and German.
When asked to translate the Hebrew part, Marta Eichelberger-Jankowska from the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland stated that:
"Hazkarat Neshamot, the book’s title, means Remembrance of souls. On Yom Kippur there is a special prayer recited for this purpose (Yizkor). I think this text is related to this ritual. A lot of those listed are rabbis. Prayer is for them and for others".
"At the beginning we have El Male Rachamim (God full of mercy), which is one of the most classic prayers for the deceased. It is followed by a list of names. The Hebrew part is equivalent to the text in German".
Olimpia Nowicka-Sulla translated the text of this prayer:
“He said that he dwells on high, he found a true rest upon the wings
of the Shekinah, in the virtues of the holy and pure who shine as the radiance of the sky, to the soul of
So-and-so, the son of so-and-so, [here the name of the deceased is mentioned]
who has gone to his world because he vowed to remember his soul to the Lord of Mercy, who will shelter him in the cover of his wings forever, and bind his soul in the bond of life in heaven,
the Lord will be his heritage, may he rest in his resting place in peace, and let us say, Amen.
We will remember them forever
[followed by the list of names]”
Jom Kipur [Yom Kippur] (The Day of Atonement) is the holiest day of the Jewish year, being the most solemn of the Jewish religious festivals of a penitential nature. It is celebrated in the fall, on the tenth day of Tishri. This year it falls on October 4-5, 2022. More information about Yom Kippur HERE.
Below we present a scan of the entirety of this unusual artifact.
Source: Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ref. PL-413.
Prayer for the Salvation of the Souls of the Martyrs
God full of mercy, who dwells on high, grant lasting respite
and happiness beneath the wings of the Divine Presence to those Heroes
of this world, teachers and the holy ones of Ukraine, Russia
and nearby countries, who were murdered, to
sanctify the verse: "Do not allow people to forget
their memory.” "I said I would scatter them, the name of the holy
and pure communities of Łabiszyn, Łobżenica, Rogoźno,
tormented by all kinds of torture, although
they raised their hands to heavens. Yet, there was no (?)
Wrath came upon all the sacred communities which
names are not listed. Everyone was equally important
saying: "In our heart there is only one
God whose name is unique. When they killed us, we held
hope alone in Him; they were murdered for their purity,
shouting together: "On that day, God and His name
will be the only ones."
Yet the lords kept inventing even newer torments.
That is why they called the weeping women - for the murdered holy,
who resisted temptation. Soul
of the blessed memory Rabbi Moses, whose whole body
was burned to weaken his strength.
His good deeds did not help him. They burned out
his hands with sulfur, cutting straps from his skin
alive. Pain and suffering were larger than the sea.
The enemies rejoiced in his sufferings,
having a feast in his presence. At the end
he was burned at the stake as a full
Sacrifice. Let his sacrifice be
as a willingly made Offering. On public roads
his ashes were scattered. Was his merit
of no value for the study of knowledge? Or
those of his ancestors who could fulfill any (?)
And it was in order to mock all Israel.
They stretched out their hand, to touch Jacob’s hip
and to persecute him all the way to Kebar. The loud mourn
Rabbi Akiva. "He sent a letter to Jacob, the fire to Yehuda,
when one day these two Heroes of the city of Poznań
were imprisoned suddenly by the executioner: Yehuda Leib – son of
Rabbi Gershon, Rabbi Joseph – son of Rabbi Pinchas based on
false denunciation and lies about a body
of a child. Their voice [loudly] cries out from the earth, for
they devoured Jacob and demolished his palaces.
They are ready to enter into eternal life.
Why, You Lord my God, stand in the distance, hiding
in time of need. That we are told:
" ........ that we may pass through You."
Such accusations are hung on street after street.
.......... O Lord my God, for Your Name has been disgraced by these wicked men.
Drive them away in anger, destroy them, You who
call anger a revenge. Do not hide your anger
from them for the bloodshed of the Holy.
Rabbi Alexander, son of Rabbi Salomo, weep,
whose heart and spirit .............. to you.
Praise the Lord. He was deemed guilty of
infanticide. May God not forget this.
God, how long will you be silent and
in hiding? Will you not avenge the blood,
which flowed like water from the elderly and children?
The blood of young men and
virgins cries out to you, blood of young men and children,
whose bodies were devoured by dogs,
licking their blood.
Why, O God, do you have your commandment,
written in the chapter Kedoshim:
"You shall not demand a bloodshed
of the blood of your neighbor,
breaking [the law of God]." As you commanded:
"Thou shalt not kill father and mother, and
a child in one day." And
........ together they will trample and crush parents and children.
Is the degree of their guilt not yet complete?
Listen to the rejoicing voice of the blasphemers and their
audacious hearts, asking, "And where is
their God, the mainstay of their faith?" Where
is their hope?"
Earth! Earth!, do not cover their blood.
May their prayer not be
In the covenant of these ten Martyrs and
those of .... accompanying the offering
Joaais think about their sacrifice. May the
prophecy be fulfilled:
"Indeed, behold, I shall send you a prophet
Elijah before the great and
terrible day [of the Lord] comes.' Let the Redeemer come
for Zion in our days and
on the path of the covenant [to eternal life], may their
souls enter [into the rest of God], to which
let's say Amen.
Transliteration of the text in German by Krzysztof Tomala
We will write about the mentioned 2 Poznan martyrs of 1736 in a separate article.
Translated by Olimpia Nowicka-Sulla