Voices from the past

Yesterday, my friend Silke drew my attention to a sound installation that was designed by students of Chernivtsi University in the former Synagogengasse (Synagogue Alley, now Anri Barbyusa Street) of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). It brought voices of the past into the present of the city. Today, the volunteers of Action Reconciliation and SVIT Ukraine have begun their work in the Jewish cemetery.

In 2013 historian Benjamin Grilj published 213 letters by to Transnistria deported Bukovinan Jews. Letters that never reached its recipient. Students of Chernivtsi University used the letters as the basis for an impressive sound installation. Tin cans serve as headphones to listen to the letters in German, Romanian, Ukrainian and English. These voices from the past finally reached recipients – the present-day residents of the city. And after all, about 60 people have listened to them at the opening – mainly young people.

Today, the volunteers of SVIT Ukraine and Action Reconciliation began to work. Of this will be more to report in the next days. My friend Arthur and I have guided the volunteers of SVIT through the cemetery, telling them about the symbols of the grave stones and the periodes they originate from. Another trip to the past, but with practical implications in the present – another piece of the Jewish cemetery will be cleaned of bushes and undergrowth during the next two weeks.

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