Winterly Galicia looks beautiful. But iced roads can be dangerous and a cold wind was blowing today, when I was out with friend and driver Vasyl to visit the Jewish cemeteries in Shchyrets, Rozdil and Mykolaiv. We discovered some real masterpieces of stone carving.
Temperatures fell down to -13° C last night and than were suddenly raising. It rained in the early morning. Frozen roads caused car accidents and traffic jam in Lviv when Vasyl and I started our excursion.
Our first destination was Shchyrets – a small town south of Lviv. The Jewish cemetery was recently cleaned up. Piles of wood and branches are still there. The cemetery is quite big, situated on a hill next to the small town. Vasyl has been here before and said he had not expected a cemetery of that size before the clean-up. While it was densely overgrown before, it is well accessable now. Most of the stones are well preserved and some stone carvings are of stunnig quality.
Big parts of the Jewish cemetery in Rozdil were destroyed in the past. But also here restauration work took place. The territory has been fenced in and many of the remaining tombstones reerected. Also here the artistic quality of some stones is overwhelming. In just a few meters distance from the cemetery is an old synagogue. A brick building, obviously abused as a workshop during the Soviet periode, now abandoned. Empty windows look into the beautiful landscape.
While driving, Vasy asked me whether I had been to Mykolaiv before. I had not. ‘I would like to show you something’ Vasyl said. Mykolaiv has a small Jewish cemetery, just next to a Christian one. While the Christian cemetery is expanding, the Jewish cemetery remains what it was. Next to it is a ravine, a place of mass shooting, where Mykolayiv’s Jews were murdered. Vasyl remembers an old man, who witnessed the mass murder from one of the surrounding hills. No memorial marks the mass grave.
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