Our penultimate day in Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). I show my friends Ingo and Sabine the upper part of the city, which they do not know yet. We make interesting discoveries at the Sacred Heart Church (Herz Jesu Kirche). In the afternoon we meet with the volunteers who work at the Jewish cemetery for a trip to Sadhora (Sadagora). There are good news from Sadagora.
The Sacred Heart Church is one of the churches in Czernowitz, which have just recently returned to a Christian community. The building was used as an archive during the Soviet period. When we come there the door is open. So far I have seen it always closed. We enter and get a free tour by two nice people. In the church intermediate ceilings and walls were built. The original architecture can only be imagined. In expensive work these walls and ceilings are removed – a project that will take years. Funding is the main problem. When we arrive at the top floor a panic attack comes over me. Left and right are deep abysses. Here, parts of the ceiling have been removed and we can look down into the depths of the nave. Our guide tells us another sad story. Opposite the church was the local headquarters of the KGB. The bodies of the KGB’s victims were disposed of in the basement of the church. The exact number of murdered men has not been precisely determined yet. Our guide estimates that there are 400.
In the afternoon, we meet the volunteers who work in the Jewish cemetery of Czernowitz again and go with them to Sadagora. We walk through the local Jewish cemetery, whose condition has deteriorated significantly. We see bushes and high grass, as we know it from the Czernowitz cemetery. A few years ago, the cemetery of Sadagora was very well maintained. The Hasidim do not tolerate the goats any more that kept the grass short. But the state of the residence and the synagogue of the Friedman family – the Hasidic dynasty of Sadagora – has improved. The renovation work is in full swing. We talk with the foreman. He estimates the work could be completed in two years.
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