The ride from Lviv (Lemberg, Lwow) to Burshtyn is wonderful. On the Galician hills poppy florishes blood red, our marshrutka (mini bus) passes horse-drawn carts, cows stroll on the road and over all storks are circling – writing enigmatic signs in the sky. Burshtyn, that is in Yiddish and Ukrainian amber. Two synagogues and a Jewish cemetery are preserved.
I do not have to search long. Both synagogues are at the beginning of Herzen Street near the bus stop. One building is in good condition – someone operates a workshop there. At the gable a Star of David is still visible. However, the second synagogue is a ruin. Large holes in the facade indicate that the building is used as a quarry. It is evident that the structure of the synagogue underwent changes during the Soviet era. Several small rooms branch off from the main hall. The ceiling has collapsed. The floor is littered with trash. The view is depressing.
By the help of neighbors I find the way to the Jewish cemetery. It is at the end of the Herzen Street. A large area that is kept free of grown vegetation by a few goats. However, only a small part of the cemetery is preserved. Approximately 200 stones are closely packed. Stumps of grave stones indicates that the cemetery was much larger.
I leave Burshtyn in low spirits. The beauty of the landscape improves my mood, but some pictures remain which are not easy to process.
I am stunned…you photograph my people…I see their destruction, windows are their faces. Walls are their arms and legs…
Thank you for posting, dear Christian. Really a vanished world, except the shapes of the Magen David affronting the decay!
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