Our first day of travel on the roads of Galicia. We want to start things slowly. From Lviv to Brody is 80 kilometers. In between, we will make a stop in Busk. In both places we are mainly interested in the Jewish cemeteries.
The day starts badly. As we drive out of Lviv, we are stopped by the police. Achim, who drives the car is to make an alcohol test, the result is clear before. € 120 we have to pay, there is not a receipt of course. At the beginning of our journey, the Ukrainian police shows on their bad side.
We have some trouble finding the right road, but are then satisfied with the quality of the road. In the direction of Rivne and Kiev, we head east. No potholes, no chaotic traffic.
Our first stop is Busk. Here there should be a remarkable Jewish cemetery. We wander through the little streets near the river. Finally, we ask a passerby for directions. The man nods and says we should follow his car, he will show us the way. This kindness makes us happy.
The Jewish cemetery of Busk is beautifully situated on a small river. Behind the river itself Busk is emerging with its church domes. Many of the graves are destroyed, the grave stones broken. Next to the cemetery is still clearly visible where Yahad – In Unum, the foundation of Father Patrick Desbois, has identified the mass graves of the Jews of Busk.
We continue to Brody. A short visit to the ruins of the fortress synagogue, then we make our way to the cemetery. After some back and forth I remember the route again, we find the way without any problems. The cemetery of Brody is an impressive sea of gray stones. We all think spontaneously of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. But on second glance, the destruction gets visible. Many stones ware broken and were removed. It is not easy to move in the cemetery. The stones are sometimes so dense that they block the way like a wall. Then we make an enjoyable discovery: In a part of the cemetery works begun to straighten the crooked stones. About 20 percent of the area have been restored in this manner. After the many destructions we have seen today, a glimmer of hope.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
€ 120,00? Quite a high entrance fee for this unique landscape! The avarice of the policemen for money reflects the economic problems of Ukraine; on the other hand, dear Christian, the results of your trip to Busk and Brody are impressive. Enjoy your journey and – in good old Yiddish – “Say gezunt!”
One day I would love to visit my grandmother’s shtetl of Kozlov. Can you recommend any tour guides?
please excuse the late answer to your request on my blog “Vanished World”. The recent trip was exhausting and I was not able to handle all requests. You asked about a tour guide for Ukraine. I can recommend my friend Alex Denysenko, who is a trustworthy person and very knowledgable about Jewish history in the region. You can contact him through email@example.com.
The photo (7th one) of the three gravestones together: The one in the center marks the grave of my Great Grandfather Mordecai Rottenberg, a beloved teacher in Busk, son of Rabbi Eliezer Halevi Rottenberg of Busk.
A local church group has restored the synagogue there, but it is a community center now not a place of worship. I am just glad it still exists. Thank you for visiting Busk and for your honest and sometimes wry prose. I hope to visit the town of my father’s ancestors someday.