The Book as a Memorial

Most of those murdered in the Shoah had no real grave – their ashes were scattered in the mud of extermination camps or their bodies lay with thousands of others in mass graves. In many cases, even the Jewish cemeteries were destroyed by the Nazis. Therefore, perhaps the most important part of the Yizkor book – as far as their editors, contributors, and readers were concerned – was the formal memorial section, which was often referred to as a kind of “virtual” gravestone. This section consisted of lists of names of Shoah victims submitted by their surviving relatives; obituary pages, often with photographs and moving dedications memorializing loved ones; and sometimes memorial pages for fallen IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers from families who had emigrated to Israel from Eastern Europe.