From the Flatlands to the Mountains

Our route lead us along the Romanian border today. We found Jewish heritage sites in Vynohradiv, Sasovo, Khust, Tiachiv, Teresva and Solotvyno – and beyond this the traces of literally collapsed industries and profitable smuggling activities.

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In the Borderlands to Hungary and Romania

Our Transcarpathia trip goes on. South of Mukachevo are towns and villages with traces of a rich Jewish heritage. Berehove is known for it, but we also found traces in Irshava, Velyki Komiaty, Khmilnyk, Siltse and Kamyanske – cemeteries and synagogues, and in Velyki Komiaty even the remains of a wooden synagogue.

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In Uzhhorod and Mukachevo

The damages to Jewish life are visible in the Transcarpathian towns of Uzhhorod and Mukachevo: synagogues used for other purposes than worship, a destroyed cemetery and the missing Jewish presence in public life due to mass deportation and extermination under Hungarian and German rule and later Sovietization. Nevertheless, there are rays of hope. In both towns we found functioning synagogues, active communities and well maintained cemeteries.

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A long Way through the Carpathians

The first day of our new trip. Marla, Jay, Vasyl and I left Lviv in the morning. We had a first stop in Drohobych, continued via Boryslav and Skhidnytsia, and finally arrived in Uzhhorod shortly before sundown. We found a beautiful church, two beit midrash (Jewish study houses) and one of the last surviving wooden synagogues of Ukraine.

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Just a Forest

A new journey through Ukraine has begun. From tomorrow on Marla, Jay, Vasyl and I will be on the road to and through Transcarpathia. Today we had a first excursion from Lviv to the neighboring village of Lysynychi, one of the biggest mass killing sites in Ukraine and one of the most unknown. Estimated 90,000 people have been murdered here during the German occupation in World War 2 – mainly Jews but also Ukrainians, Poles and thousands of Italian soldiers. Except of a little memorial there are no visible traces of the crime. To visitors with no background information Lysynychi forest looks just like an ordinary forest.

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Back in Warsaw

It was not only the carnival in my hometown Cologne that gave me a pretext to travel to Warsaw during the last weekend. For the preparation of my next photo book on the remaining Jewish heritage in Eastern Europe I collaborate with an excellent Polish designer – Ania Nałęcka-Milach. But I also took the opportunity to stroll through the streets and backyards of Praga, situated on the east bank of Vistula River, and to have a look on the new museum documenting Bródno Jewish cemetery.

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Beautiful Budapest

Hungary’s capital Budapest is known for its rich Jewish heritage but also for its present vivid Jewish community. Those, liberated from Budapest ghetto by the Red Army laid the foundation for the renewal of Jewish life. Their descendants are heirs of a unique legacy. During a trip in early January I had the opportunity to experience some highlights of Jewish Budapest.

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“Remembrance and Oblivion” Photo Exhibition Opened in the City of Bochum

Olena Petrenko’s students of Bochum University – Nina, Judith, Patrik, Sebastian, Bea and Thorben – organised a wonderful exhibition opening with a selection of my photos at Kunsthallen Rottstraße 5 in Bochum last night. Thank you all for keeping the memory of Jewish Eastern Europe alive!

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At low Light

Yesterday, it was raining all day long when my friends and I returned to Lviv. En route were the towns of Turka, Khyriv, Ralivka and Mykolaiv. I also took the opportunity to photograph the synagogues in Sambir and Staryi Sambir under different light conditions.

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South-West of Lviv – Between Hope and Depression

Marla, Jay, Vasyl and I were on the road again for another two days trip through Galicia during this weekend. From Lviv we headed south-west towards the Carpathian Mountains. Komarno, Rudky, Sambir and Staryi Sambir were our targets on Saturday. A trip between hope and depression.

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