From Kolomyia eastwards and back to Lviv

My friends and I continued our trip through Galicia in Ukraine on February 23. We started our day in Kolomyia and headed east to Horodenka and then towards Zolotyi Potik. Jewish heritage sites in Hvizdets, Chernelytsia, Zabolotiv and Obertyn were along the way.

Our first stop was a backyard on Ivan Franko Street in Kolomyia. During the war there were offices of the German occupiers – probably the Gestapo. To this day, the courtyard is paved with gravestones from the city’s destroyed Jewish cemeteries. Some of the writing on the stones is still legible. The second stop: Orenstein Street in the former Jewish quarter. Three years ago I found four traces of mezuzot. Now there are only two.

We continued towards Horodenka. During my last visit a few years ago, I wondered where the old Jewish cemetery is and whether it still exists. However, I was traveling in summer then and the vegetation was dense. Now we have solved the riddle. It is located right next to the new Jewish cemetery, but is only visible in winter. A few gravestones are hidden deep in the rampant vegetation.

We left Zolotyi Potik with mixed emotions. The Jewish cemetery has been largely destroyed, but the remaining tombstones are of exceptional beauty. The cemetery is well maintained. One of the attractions of the town is a castle – once owned by the Potocki family. Opposite is a palace that is currently under renovation. Renovation is actually the wrong word – it’s pure vandalism. Baroque balustrades and Greek concrete columns have been added. A heavy roof construction rises above it. Everything is disproportionate and tasteless. A path leads to the building, which has also been renewed. Until recently, it consisted of Jewish tombstones. They are now lying in large piles with the rest of the rubble. There is a high risk that they will simply be dumped somewhere.

It was almost dark when we reached Obertyn. Here the day ended with a pleasant sight. The Jewish cemetery is fenced and well maintained. A paved path runs across the cemetery. Gravestone fragments are lined up next to it. The fence offers the possibility to put up individual plaques. A dignified place.

5 persons looking towards the camera

Our travel team says Good Bye.
From left to right: Jay, Vasyl, me, Marla, Iryna, Anna.
Photo by Jay Osborn

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7 thoughts on “From Kolomyia eastwards and back to Lviv

  1. My grandmother, grandfather and his brother listed Kolomyia and Zaboltiv on the ship manifest as their last residence: Rosa (Goldhammer) Greier, her husband Natu Greier and his older brother Moses Greier. I have found some references but it just ends all before 1922. Is there a good approach to researching the local records?

      • Thank you. I was going thru some old research I had but never looked at and there was information that I have been wondering about for a couple of years. We go slow and we will get there. In my family my mother was the one whose wisdom spanned the generations, she’s long gone but the she instilled that curiosity that lives on into the next three generations.
        Thanks again for that thought, it’s certainly worth some effort.

    • Hi David, your reply is just about a year old now, but I still hope to reach you. I’m also researching for documents about my ancestors, and as yours, their last name was Greier and they came from Kolomea around the same time. Might they have been relatives and so we too? I’d love to get in touch and share the information we have.
      Christian, I hope it’s ok if I use this platform to share my E-mail with David. It’s so rare to find such threads of the past.
      David, I’d be really happy to hear from you:

  2. I have found in the archives that my ancestos were buried in the cemetery in Obertyn. Are there any records there?
    Thank you for the wonderfl blog. I loved seeing the pictures of my families homeland.

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