The World of the Yizkor Book

The vast majority of Yizkor books memorialize shtetlekh that were located in Poland between the world wars. However, many other countries are represented: the Soviet Union (including Belorussia and Ukraine), Lithuania, Latvia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and even Greece. While most Yizkor books are devoted to one locality, a few attempt to cover an entire country or region, such as the multi-volume works on Lithuania entitled Lite ("Lithuania") and Yahadut lita ("Lithuanian Jewry").

Most Yizkor books were written in either Yiddish, Hebrew, or both, reflecting small-town Polish Jews' mother tongue and/or the language they adopted upon immigrating to Israel. Others, especially those about communities outside of Poland and the USSR, incorporated European languages such as Hungarian or Romanian, or were even written entirely in those languages.