09 December 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: ...l offspring of Aizik Mendel

In June of 2013 I had the pleasure of visiting Ukraine and Labun (now Yurovshchina; once called Lubin in Yiddish), my paternal grandparents' community. We were able to visit the old Jewish cemetery, which I discussed in an earlier post. Over the next several Tuesdays I will post photos and translations (as I am able to decipher) of tombstones from that cemetery. Most do not feature surnames.

Several people participating on "Tracing the Tribe" FaceBook page have worked together to try to decipher this tombstone. Unfortunately the first name - likely on the sixth line from the bottom - has not been determined. A couple of people thought the name could be Doniel (and I agree that there appears to be an alef followed by a lamed at the end of the name), but I think the word "bat" might be at the end of that line (in which case the deceased would have been a woman). And I am not sure if the name starts with resh or daled. 

The date, located at the end of the fourth line from the bottom (after Mendel) seems to have two digits starting with the letter representing 20. I cannot make out the second digit. 

So, what we have, thus far, is:

D/R...l daughter[?] of
Mendel 2[#?]
Nisan, in the year
May his/her soul be bound in eternal life 

The 20th of Nisan 5687 would convert to 22 April 1927. The 29th of Nisan would have been 1 May 1927. So, the date of death is something between those two possibilities.

I have been asked why I did not clean the tombstone before taking the photo and why I did not record the text while I was there so that there would be no (or less) confusion in doing these translations. While I tried to make sure that the most moss-obscured letters were clearer, I was operating under the notion of do no harm - and all I had that might have been used to scrape off moss was a credit card.

In retrospect, I suppose I should have spent the evening trying to translate from the digital photos I'd taken that day and then gone back the next day for any I could not decipher. But, really, the mosquitos in the cemetery were carrying me away; I was crawling through mud to take the photos; and there was a local waiting for me who, through the goodness of his heart, was going to take us to some other local points of interest (especially the site in the nearby forest where the Jewish town's people had been murdered in 1941).

I tried during my trip to be flexible and open to changes in plans as opportunities presented themselves. That was an excellent strategy and one I would recommend to anyone doing a similar roots trip. Considering the state of this cemetery: on the side of a hill, in clay soil and overgrown with trees, I'm not unhappy with the results. Guess I'll just have to go back soon, better prepared for the state of this cemetery. 

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