March 6, was the last day of our one week journey through Galicia, Podolia and Bessarabia – Ukraine and Moldova. Actually, it was only a half day as I had to be at Lviv airport at 2 pm to fly home. We got up early to visit Vyshnivets and Kremenets with its Jewish heritage sites – places that were already on our itinerary since the last trip in December 2018.
With heavy hearts we said good bye to our dear fellow travelers Iryna and Anna the night before and continued our trip in the early morning of March 6. We did not take the direct route from Ternopil to Lviv but headed north to Vyshnivets and Kremenets.
In Vyshnivets there are two Jewish cemeteries – an old and a new one. The old cemetery is picturesquely situated on a hill next to the town center. The stones are old, probably 19 and 18th century – or even older – and the place is due to grazing animals well maintained. We found the new cemetery in bad condition – overgrown and with recent damages by wood cutting. Vyshnivets’ huge former synagogue speaks of the size of the former Jewish community. Now it serves as an apartment building.
Kremenets turned out to be a gem. The town is a great mix of well preserved Polish, Ukrainian and Jewish heritage. We could already see the Jewish cemetery from a distance. It stretches out on the slopes of a hill and its size is unbeliveble. Marla, Jay, Vasyl and I looked at it and all of us said “we have to return”. And this is what we will do!
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My great grandfather – Meir Nachum Yingerleib – was the last Rabbi of Vyshnivets. Together with my grandmother and aunt, he was murdered by the local Ukrainians who served happily as nazi’s “helpers”, when they annihilated the entire Jewish population. Thank you for these pictures