Voices from the past

Yesterday, my friend Silke drew my attention to a sound installation that was designed by students of Chernivtsi University in the former Synagogengasse (Synagogue Alley, now Anri Barbyusa Street) of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). It brought voices of the past into the present of the city. Today, the volunteers of Action Reconciliation and SVIT Ukraine have begun their work in the Jewish cemetery.

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Finally in Czernowitz

It is already our third travel day. Arthur Rindner – an old time Czernowitzer – and I met on Friday at Vienna’s airport and flew to Lviv / Lemberg. Now we are already in Czernowitz and have met the international volunteer group that will work in the next two weeks in the Jewish cemetery.

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Two Lazy Days in Czernowitz

Sylvia and I were exhausted after our trip to Transnistria. In Czernowitz (Chernivtsi) – Sylvia’s native city – we took our chance to relax. We strolled through the streets, met friends, enjoyed the atmosphere of the city.

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Ghostlike Appearences

Portraits of the deceased on gravestones do actually not exist in Jewish tradition. It is a custom that is common in Christian cemeteries in many European countries and was adopted since the interwar period. The Jewish cemetery of Czernowitz (Chernivtsi) is particularly rich in such portraits.

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All the way back

On April 18, my friends and I came back home from our trip to Bukovina. What happened between the last blog post on April 15, and our return, I still have to report. At the end of this journey I also have to thank some people – my friends Petra and Achim and my virtual fellow travelers who have commented, offered advice and shared memories. We’ll meet again – on the next trip!

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Some progress in Czernowitz

It was a gray day in Chernivtsi (Czernowitz) today. For three hours I went for a walk in the Jewish cemetery – a place which speaks about one and a half centuries of life of one of the most important Jewish communities in eastern Europe. There is good news to report, the situation has improved since my visit last summer. Most of the ways and pathes are cleared and accessible. Large parts of the cemetery have been cleaned – and this was done very thorough and sustainable. The various initiatives to maintain the cemetery finally have an effect. But now the destructions of the past are getting visible. A new challenge.

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Return to Czernowitz

In the morning we gave back our rental car and left Southern Bukovina and Romania by bus. Since some hours we are now in Chernivtsi (Czernowitz) in Ukraine. It was a day without any particular discoveries, which would be worth to report here. Arriving in Czernowitz after so many returns is like coming home. With my friends Petra and Achim I had a walk through the historic city center and like every time we were charmed by the beauty of the place.

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The work-camp, that was held nevertheless

The editors of “Die Stimme” (The Voice)–the monthly bulletin of the Bukovinian Jews–were recently so kind to publish my report on this year’s work-camp of SVIT Ukraine to clear the Jewish cemetery of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). Even today, “Die Stimme” is published in German in Israel. It moves me every time when I pull a new edition out of my letter box. But it also has the disadvantage that many can not read the articles any more. Therefore, here is an English translation of my report.

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A day in Czernowitz, an afternoon with the volunteers

The Jewish cemetery of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz) is an enchanted garden. In his jungle you meet lions, deer, blessing hands, and people who are long gone. This morning I had some time to explore it once again. Even after many visits, it is a fascinating place to me. The cemetery tells of rise and fall of Jewish Czernowitz. I spent the afternoon with the volunteers of SVIT Ukraine who work in the cemetery.

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