Otaci’s Jewish Cemetery

We left Moldova’s capital Chişinău in the morning of May 23, 2018, and headed north towards the border to Ukraine. Before border crossing we had a stop in the town of Otaci which was known as a transit point for deportees to the Romanian camps and ghettos in Transnistria during World War II. What is often failed to see, is that Otaci looks back on a long Jewish history. The cemetery in the nearby village of Vălcineţ is a reminder.

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Two Days in Bessarabia

It turned out to be difficult to report from the road when traveling with a big group and having a dense itinerary. Now, already back home, I have time to take up the narration. Last time I wrote from Chişinău on May 21 but did not report what we experienced there. On May 22 we were out for a day trip to Vadul Raşcov Jewish cemetery and the cave monasteries of Tipova – both magic places.

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On the Road to Chişinău

Yesterday, our group moved on through Bessarabia. In Bălţi we visited the magnificent Jewish cemetery and then went further south to the Moldovan capital of Chişinău. En route were the Jewish agricultural colony of Mărculeşti and Orhei with its imposing cemetery.

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From Bukovina to Bessarabia

Yesterday, we followed the traces of the Hasidic courts in Bukovina and neighbouring Galicia. We have been to the towns of Sadgora, Kuty and Vyzhnytsia – and the day before we saw how the renovation of the magnificent mortuary of Chernivtsi cemetery makes progress. Today, we went on to Bessarabia in the Republic of Moldova. Lipcani and Briceni were on our way to Bălţi, where we are right now. Now, in spring the Jewish cemeteries are beautiful enchanted gardens. Here are some photo impressions.

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Some Summer Black and Whites

After working a lot on my colour photos I finally found time to return to the analogue black and whites. Here is a selection of images I took in August during the trip to Ukraine and Moldova. Represented are Jewish cemeteries in Chişinău (Kishinev), Orhei and Vadul-Raşcov (Vadul Rashkov) in Bessarabia/Moldova, cemeteries in Rîbniţa (Rybnitsa) and Raşcov (Rashkov) in the break away “state” of Transnistria, as well as the former synagogue of Sniatyn in Galicia, Ukraine.

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Vadul-Raşcov Jewish cemetery: Little is known, all is visible

Vadul-Raşcov (Vadul-Rashkov) in Bessarabia is one of the most impressive Jewish cemeteries I have ever seen. There are a few hundred, if not a few thousand gravestones, located on a hill sloping to the banks of river Dniester. This is borderland – in many aspects.

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In Chişinău

Chişinău’s Jewish cemetery is the most important witness of the city’s Jewish past. Unfortunately it is in a miserable state – densely overgrown and with rubbish everywhere. Sylvia and I went there today.

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To Vadul Raşcov and Orhei

Another intense day. Sylvia and I have been to Vadul Raşcov (Vadul Rashkov) and Orhei in Bessarabia with its amazing Jewish cemeteries. Nothing compares to the Jewish cemetery of Vadul Raşcov at the banks of river Dniester. Here you get in touch with eternity.

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Return to Transnistria

Our journey to Ukraine and Moldova goes on. The wish of my friend Sylvia to visit Bessarabia gave me a good pretext to return to Chişinău (Kishinev). While our friends Marla and Jay returned to Lviv yesterday, Sylvia and I took the bus to the Moldovan capital. Today we were out for a long day trip to Transnistria, a break-away ‘state’, only aknowledged by Russia. We visited Dubăsari (Dubasari), Raşcov (Rashkov) and Rîbniţa (Rybnitsa).

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Bessarabia in Black and White (Vol. 4)

The work of the past few weeks has come to a temporary end. Here are the last of the analog black and white photos of the trip to Bessarabia/Moldova in March and April. Among them are images of Jewish cemeteries in Briceni, Lipcani and Vadul-Raşcov (Vadul Rashkov). While it is the quality of stone carvings that is impressing in Lipcani, it is the unique combination of the cemetery and the environment at river Dniester in Vadul-Raşcov.
Now I have to decide which images I want to rework and print for future exhibitions. Not an easy decision. What are your favorites?

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