A first day in Belarus

When I told my Ukrainian friends, I would travel to Belarus, they all said ‘oh, it’s so tidy there’. Yes it is. But beyond tidiness, excellent roads, overwhelming hospitality and good hotels, there is also more to discover: a rich and diverse history, of which the Jewish component is an important part. For 12 days, my friends Achim, Petra, our knowledgable and charming tour guide Juliana Mikolutskaya and I explored the Jewish heritage sites in the west of the country. We started in Minsk on 19 April.

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A last Tale to tell

During the last days I have reported on the recent trip to Jewish heritages sites in Ukraine and Moldova from February 28 to March 6. As it is somehow unconnected to the rest of the journey, I did so far not write about the day of my arrival, February 27, when my dear friend Katharina and I explored the remains of Zichron Josef Synagogue in Lviv.

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Vyshnivets and Kremenets

March 6, was the last day of our one week journey through Galicia, Podolia and Bessarabia – Ukraine and Moldova. Actually, it was only a half day as I had to be at Lviv airport at 2 pm to fly home. We got up early to visit Vyshnivets and Kremenets with its Jewish heritage sites – places that were already on our itinerary since the last trip in December 2018.

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All the Way back

March 5, was nearly the last day of our one week trip through Ukraine and Moldova. Coming from Sharhorod, we bridged 400 kilometers at that day until we reached Ternopil in the evening – with Jewish heritage sites in Sharhorod, Luchynets and Khotyn on our way.

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A Day of Miracles

We returned from Moldova to Ukraine on March 4. It was truly a day of miracles. We saw the stunning Jewish cemeteries of Edineț, Otaci, Chernivtsi (Podolia, not Bukovina) and Mohyliv-Podilsky. We found the synagogue in Chernivtsi, left behind by Jews leaving the former Soviet Union after 1991. In Sharhorod we talked to Hryhoriy Saulko, who wants to restaurate the magnificent synagogue of his hometown and already started to do.

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In the north of Moldova

After our Transnistria trip the day before, our group moved further north. We stayed over night in Bălţi and visited the local Jewish cemetery in the morning of 3 March. It is the biggest in the north of Moldova. After a detour to Alexandreni – east of Bălţi – we headed further to Lipcani and Briceni to visit the Jewish cemeteries there.

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From Chişinău to Bălţi via Transnistria

On 2 March our little group continued the road trip through the Republic of Moldova. We headed east, crossed the Russian checkpoint near Dubăsari, and entered the internationally not recognized break away “republic” of Transnistria – rarely visited by western travelers. On our itinerary were Dubăsari and Raşcov before we crossed the “border” again to see the Jewish cemetery of Vadul Raşcov.

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News from Chişinău Jewish cemetery

Since Thursday, 28 February, my friends Marla, Jay, Iryna, Anna, Vasyl and I are on the road again. Our 7 days trip through Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova has begun. We spent a day in Chişinău and from there are encouraging news – the last remaining Jewish cemetery of the city is undergoing restauration works.

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“In Fading Light” exhibition opening and an excursion into Augsburg’s Jewish past and present

The city of Augsburg made me happy. On Thursday night, I had an exhibition opening at Bukowina-Institut and my dear friend Katharina Haberkorn was so kind to guide me through Jewish and non-Jewish sites in the city.

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A last Day of Discoveries

On December 11 we returned to Lviv from Zalishchyky and our four days trip through Ternopil oblast in Ukraine came to an end. But at that day there were still some places to visit and some discoveries to make. Korolivka and Ozeryany were along the road and at the very end we found a synagogue or beit midrash, which seems to be so far undocumented.

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