Sylvia, Katharina, our wonderful driver Vasyl and I have just returned from Trochenbrod (Trachimbrod). It was a long day trip to a place that has completely disappeared. An all-Jewish town which was wiped out in the Holocaust and resurrected as literature in the novel “Everything Is Illuminated” by Jonathan Safran Foer.
I have already been to Trochenbrod in December last year and will therefore not repeat my general thoughts in this post. Nevertheless, maybe this: It makes a big difference if you visit the place in January or June. Snow and cloudy weather give an impression of seriousness which corresponds to the history of the place. Today was a bright summer day. In the forest we heard a cuckoo calling and along the way were the traces of beavers – cut trees. The beauty of nature lies over the horrors of the past.
On the way to Trochenbrod we made a stop in Zhovkva – a place with traces of a rich Jewish past. It includes the remnants of Jewish home blessings which are still visible on some door frames, a great old synagogue and a destroyed cemetery, which is a market today. Sylvia and I have been asking ourselves repeatedly how to photograph the absence of something. Zhovkva and Trochenbrod may offer possible answers.
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