On December 11 we returned to Lviv from Zalishchyky and our four days trip through Ternopil oblast in Ukraine came to an end. But at that day there were still some places to visit and some discoveries to make. Korolivka and Ozeryany were along the road and at the very end we found a synagogue or beit midrash, which seems to be so far undocumented.
Our team – Marla, Jay, Vasyl, Iryna, Anna and I – stayed at a pleasant hotel in a scenic valley near Zalishchyky over night. We got up early and had a first stop at Zalishchyky’s magnificent synagogue. I had been there before but never thought about the Jewish cemetery as several people told me there is nothing left. Jay and Vasyl convinced us to have a look and they were right. The cemetery was destroyed and one part was even recently bulldozed by a nearby factory. What we found were piles of tombstones with beautiful stone carvings. Despite its picturesque location – high on the banks of Dniester canyon – this cemetery is a sad place.
In Korolivka is one of the most beautiful Jewish cemeteries in Galicia. In the center of the place is the oldest part of the cemetery – surrounded by tombstones from the 19th and early 20th century. It is a peaceful and well maintained place with a breathtaking view.
We headed further to Ozeryany to visit the Jewish cemetery. Also this cemetery is well maintained but to a large extent destroyed. Vasyl made us aware of a building which is believed to be a former synagogue or beit midrash. The present owner – who turned out to be kind and knowledgable – let us in. The window arches leave now doubt this was a house of worship. “Two walls are still original”, the man said. According to him there was also a Jewish library. So this building was probably a beit midrash. It was used as a bakery after the war and is now a carpenter’s workshop. To my best knowledge the building did not make it to any scientific documentation.
In Ternopil our dear fellow travelers Iryna and Anna left us and the rest of us drove back to Lviv. Farewell, Ira and Anna! It was great to travel with you! One journey came to an end, but there are already ideas for a new one…
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