04 October 2010

Oregon: 'Lost town of Trochenbrod,' Oct. 12

Avrom Bendavid-Val will present "The Heavens are Empty: Discovering the Lost Town of Trochenbrod," at the Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon meeting on Tuesday, October 12, in Portland.

The meeting begins at 7.30pm, at Congregation Ahavath Achim, 3225 SW Barbur Blvd.
The town of Trochenbrod was created by city Jews as an agricultural village in a marshy area isolated in the forest in Volyn Province, in the Jewish Pale of Settlement, in the early 1800s. This beginning as a rural farming community happened at a time when no Jews were farmers—at that time Jews couldn’t even own land.

As Trochenbrod gradually took on the character of a town and grew to its final population of about 5,000 people it became the only free-standing Jewish town ever to exist outside the biblical Land of Israel.

Trochenbrod developed into a thriving regional commercial center with a highly diversified and essentially self-sufficient economy.

In Trochenbrod everyone—shopkeepers, farmers, craftspeople, workers, teachers, livestock traders, factory owners…everyone—was Jewish; and the languages the townspeople spoke in the street and in their homes were Yiddish and modern Hebrew.
When Bendavid-Val was working in Poland in 1997, he decided to visit Trochenbrod, the ancestral town of his father and grandfather.

He discovered that there were no physical remnants of Trochenbrod and that it had been a unique settlement in many ways. He documented the town's history from its creation in the early 1800s to its destruction in 1942.

His book about Trochenbrod will be released by Pegasus Books early this month. If you obtain the book before the program, he will sign your copy at the event.

Attendees who arrive by 7pm will receive expert assistance with genealogy problems, and questions may be sent ahead of time.

Fee: JGSO members, free; others, $5 donation requested.

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