“Yizkor” (יזכור) in Hebrew means to remember something or someone and is used in prayers to the dead. A corresponding literary genre in Jewish culture developed in the 13th century in Eastern Europe and was rediscovered in the 20th century in the aftermath of the Holocaust. These “Memorbooks” were mostly printed and distributed in small quantities by the Landsmanshaft (לנדסמנשאפט), the exile community of the respective town or village.
The New York Public Library has digitized Yizkor books from various collections and makes them available online, sorted alphabetically by place name.
The chronicles, necrologists, maps, photos and illustrations compiled by surviving contemporary witnesses are a valuable source which is difficult to access due to its size, lack of factual structure, indexes and not least due to the Hebrew script/Yiddish language. An ongoing project of JewishGen promotes translation and indexing by volunteers and donations.