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.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.