Ukraine between Past and Future – A Travel Report

Ukraine between Past and Future - A travel reportZurich Lab, a Swiss based institute that wants “psychoanalysis to meet the streets”, has published an essay of mine about my Ukraine trip in February. I am aware that some of the theses in the essay are controversial for some readers. However, I believe there are necessary discussions about history, remembrance and identity. Without it there is no self-confident future – just conspiracy theories.

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A Journey in Black and White

My journey in February through Western Ukraine – through Galicia, Bukovina and Podolia – was another opportunity to take more photos for two exhibitions in autumn. Here is a first selection, including images from Lviv (Lemberg, Lwow), Sokal, Velyki Mosty, Zhovkva, Staryi Sambir, Ternopil, Sataniv and Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). What are your favorites?

Return to Lviv

My trip is coming to an end. This morning I strolled with a group of architecture students through Chernivtsi (Czernowitz), now I ‘m after a few hours on the train already back in Lviv (Lemberg, Lwow). Ukrainians continue to mourn those killed on Maidan.

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A last Excursion

When I asked Mykola Kushnir, the director of the Jewish Museum in Chernivtsi (Czernowitz), how I could see the wall paintings in the former synagogue of Novoselitsa, he invited me spontaneously to go there with him today. A really nice and generous offer – especially as Mykola has the key to the synagogue. Thanks, Mykola, for this wonderful excursion – the last on this journey!

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Between Past and Present

The second day in Chernivtsi (Czernowitz): I continue to swing between the past and present of the city, between the remains of the Jewish past and the ongoing protests.

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Back in Czernowitz

Almost five hours my little marshrutka needed to make the way from Ternopil to Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). The reason is not the distance (175 km) but the conditions of Ukrainian roads. It’s nice to be back in Czernowitz, it’s almost like coming home. Here too, the protest movement is active.

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Plans for 2014

A new year, new plans. In the second half of February 2014 I will travel in Ukraine again – to places that are familiar to me and others that are unknown territory yet. Do you have recommendations?
map of Galicia and Bukovina

1. Lviv (Lwow, Lemberg), 2. Staryi Sambir, 3. Velyki Mosty, 4. Burshtyn, 5. Buchach, 6. Hrymailiv, 7. Sataniv, 8. Husiatyn, 9. Chernivtsi (Czernowitz), 10. Novoselitsa

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I walked endlessly

Sylvia de Swaan was born in Czernowitz (Chernivtsi) in 1941. The worst time, if one were Jewish. Today she is a successful photographer in America. Sylvia has returned to take pictures – more than once. Images of trains, rails, her hometown, nightmares. Powerful images. In August 2013 she was in Czernowitz again and I was lucky enough to meet her. Once more we had many intensive conversations and experiences. A good reason for an interview a few monthes later, to see how her new works grow.

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One has to imagine Sisyphus as a happy man

Since six years volunteers from all over the world work in the Jewish cemetery of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). What do they experience and what is the progress in cleaning the cemetery from rampant vegetation?

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Farewell Czernowitz!

Tomorrow we will leave for Lviv. Our last day in Chernivtsi (Czernowitz) is also our most relaxing one. For the first time it is a day without obligations. One last day to stroll through the streets – almost without having to think about an appointment.

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