From Brest to Slonim

Day 7 of our 9 days road trip through the west of Belarus brought us on 25 April finally to the town of Slonim. For all of us – Achim, Petra, Juliana and me – it was one of the highligts of the entire journey. Not much compares to the beauty of the Great Synagogue. En route were more heritage sites in Kobryn and Byten, but also sad places – mass killing sites – in Smolyarka and Bronnaya Gara.

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From Pruzhany to Brest

In the early afternoon of 24 April, my friends and I reached Brest, one of the biggest cities in Belarus and known for the peace negotiations at the end of World War I and its uncompromising resistance against the invading German forces in World War II. En route were Jewish heritage sites in Pruzhany, Sharashova and Kamienets.

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From Hrodna to Pruzhany

Starting in the morning of April 23 in Hrodna, my friends and I turned south to continue our road trip through the west of Belarus. Join us to visit imposing synagogues, hidden Jewish cemeteries and a haunted house – a former beit midrash – in the towns of Indura, Lunno, Wolpa, Mstibovo, Svislach, Porazava, Lyskava and Ruzhany!

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From Lida to Hrodna

My friends and I continued our Belarus road trip on April 22. From Lida we headed further west until we reached Hrodna (Grodno) in the evening. En route were Jewish heritage sites in Radun, Noviy Dvor, Astryna, Razhanka, Zhaludok and Skidzyel.

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From Ashmyany to Lida

The weather was changing when my friends and I continued our road trip through the west of Belarus on 21 April. It was raining when we started our day with a visit to the magnificent synagogue of Ashmyany. Later, we headed further west to the towns of Halshany, Iwye, Vselyub, Delyatichi, Liubcha, Navahraduk and Dziatlava.

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Between Minsk and Ashmyany

April 20 was the first day of our 9 days road trip through the west of Belarus. My friends Achim, Petra, our guide Juliana and I expolred the towns of Rakaw, Ivyanets, Butkovichi, Valozhyn, Vishneva, Kreva and finally Ashmyany with its synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and other heritage sites.

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A first day in Belarus

When I told my Ukrainian friends, I would travel to Belarus, they all said ‘oh, it’s so tidy there’. Yes it is. But beyond tidiness, excellent roads, overwhelming hospitality and good hotels, there is also more to discover: a rich and diverse history, of which the Jewish component is an important part. For 12 days, my friends Achim, Petra, our knowledgable and charming tour guide Juliana Mikolutskaya and I explored the Jewish heritage sites in the west of the country. We started in Minsk on 19 April.

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A last Tale to tell

During the last days I have reported on the recent trip to Jewish heritages sites in Ukraine and Moldova from February 28 to March 6. As it is somehow unconnected to the rest of the journey, I did so far not write about the day of my arrival, February 27, when my dear friend Katharina and I explored the remains of Zichron Josef Synagogue in Lviv.

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Vyshnivets and Kremenets

March 6, was the last day of our one week journey through Galicia, Podolia and Bessarabia – Ukraine and Moldova. Actually, it was only a half day as I had to be at Lviv airport at 2 pm to fly home. We got up early to visit Vyshnivets and Kremenets with its Jewish heritage sites – places that were already on our itinerary since the last trip in December 2018.

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All the Way back

March 5, was nearly the last day of our one week trip through Ukraine and Moldova. Coming from Sharhorod, we bridged 400 kilometers at that day until we reached Ternopil in the evening – with Jewish heritage sites in Sharhorod, Luchynets and Khotyn on our way.

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