An excursion to Ostroh

The synagogue of Ostroh is in a sad state. However, the Jewish cemetery was found in surprisingly good condition during my today’s visit. I have rarely seen such a well-kept Jewish cemetery in Ukraine.

The taxi driver who should just take me to the bus station, offered such a good deal for a ride to Ostroh that I could not resist. It is grim cold and the prospect of waiting for the bus or searching in Ostroh for hours for the synagogue and the Jewish cemetery, was not really inspiring.

To my surprise, Sergey – the taxi driver – even spoke some German. He grew up in Siberia, he said. The neighborhood kids were Germans, who had been deported by Stalin from the Volga region to Siberia. He had to learn some words of German to talk with them. But for 40 years, he had not practiced his German, he said.

Sergey has little trouble finding the synagogue of Ostroh. The building is in a sad state. Parts of the ceiling have already collapsed, the interior is full of waste. A sign marks the building as a monument. Obviously this does not help to prevent the decay.

The Jewish cemetery of Ostroh, however, is in surprisingly good condition. A fence protects the area. Many grave stones have been restored and mounted on concrete bases to prevent falling over and damage caused by moisture. Trees protect the stones from the weather, but are cut back. The whole area is easily accessible.

The cemetery is quite large, grave stones are not preserved everywhere. Some are very impressive concerning size and decoration. The cemetery in Brody came inevitable into my mind.

Under a bright blue sky, we return to Rivne. The temperature continues to fall. After I shot pictures at the cemetery, it took some time until my fingers are thawed.

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4 thoughts on “An excursion to Ostroh

    • Obviously there are people who care for the cemetery. As there are two well-kept ohels, I imagine they are based in Israel and have religious reasons or even familiy ties to Ostroh. But I don’t know any details.

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