The last part of my journey with the German TV team began on 30 August in Mohyliv-Podilskyi, took us on to Chernivtsi – finally a reunion with one of my favourite places! – and back to Lviv. On the way back, we made short stops in Halych and Burshtyn.
Sharhorod and Chernivtsi (not Chernivtsi in Bukovina) were typical Podolian shtetls. Even after the war, there were still substantial Jewish communities, because both places were part of the Romanian occupation zone “Transnistria”, where the chances of survival were higher than in the German “Reichskommissariat Ukraine” or the “Generalgouvernemant”. After 1991, most of the Jews left the successor states of the Soviet Union. What remained behind is their material legacy. Soon, in Sharhorod and Chernivtsi there may not much be left of that.
On the morning of 27 August, the TV crew and I left Ternopil for the south-east. The journey of the next two days would take us to Skalat, Hrymailiv, Husiatyn, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Shatava and Dunaivtsi. Some of these places were unfamiliar terrain even for me.
On 25 August, the TV crew and I left Lviv. It was the beginning of a 10-day journey that would take us in a wide loop through Galicia, Podolia and Bukovina. Brody, Pochaiv and Zbarazh were on the agenda for the first two days.
It seems like an eternity since I was last time in Ukraine. The pandemic simply made it impossible. And it’s been almost two years now since Susanne Brahms and Rainer Krause from Blind Cat Documentary in Bremen asked me if I would support them in a TV documentary about the shtetl. Now that the whole team has been vaccinated and the infection figures in Ukraine are relatively low, this has finally become a reality. From 20 August to 5 September I was on the road in Galicia, Podolia and Bukovina. In the coming days and weeks I will report on the trip. At the beginning there is Lviv.