My friends Marla, Jay, Vasyl and I continued our journey through Volhynia. Today, Jewish heritage sites in Rivne, Ostroh, Slavuta and Shepetivka were on our itinerary. It also was a day with exceptional people we met.
In Ostroh we were already expected by Hryhoriy. He has saved about 1.000 tombstones from construction grounds and returned them to the Jewish cemetery which was bulldozed in 1968. But he not only returned them to the cemetery, he also re-erected them at the places were they belong. Since some years Hryhoriy reconstructs Ostroh’s magnificent synagogue and made big progress with this project. The garbage was removed, a new roof set up and parts of the facade renovated. When I was in Ostroh in 2014 I saw the ruin of a synagogue – now we can observe a resurrection.
We went further east to Slavuta. There is a still functioning synagogue. By accident we found a memorial for the ghetto and the murdered Jews of the town – including 300 children who were killed. Outside Slavuta is another memorial for Holocaust victims and one of the most horrible sites of suffering in all of Ukraine: Großlazaret 301, a camp for Soviet prisoners of war, in which 150.000 soldiers died from typhus and starvation – they were left by the Germans without any medical treatment. The site is huge – filled with buildings partly still in use, partly in decay.
The sun was already sinking when we reached the town of Shepetivka. We had a look at the Great Synagogue – obviously still used by a Jewish community – and the Jewish cemetery, a densly overgrown location. It was dark when we arrived in Polonne. There was not enough light to identify the places we were looking for and this teached us to be more realistic with our plans for tomorrow.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.