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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Mapping the Unknown

A new journey has begun. During the next days, I will travel with my friends Marla, Jay and Vasyl in Ukraine again. A journey that will bring us to places widely unknown to many. How complete is our “inner map”? And how complete is our map of murderous actions in the 20th century? One of the missing spots is the site of Janowska concentration camp in a suburb of Lviv.

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In Transnistria

Transnistria was a Romanian deportation zone for Jews and Gypsies during the war. Thousands died of typhus, inhuman working conditions, of hunger or were shot. My fellow traveler Sylvia was here more than 70 years ago when she was a little girl. Today we explored some places in Transnistria – now part of Podolia in Ukraine.


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A last Day in Lviv

A last day in Lviv for Sylvia and me before heading to Podolia/Transnistria. Sylvia gave an impressive speech at a conference. At noon we walked to the site of former concentration camp at Janowska Road. In the evening there was another opportunity to meet old and new friends.

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Krakow in black and white

Today I received the scans of the films shot during the recent trip to Krakow. Without further comments I post here a first selection of pictures. They were taken on a foggy day at the two Jewish cemeteries of the city and at the site of former Plaszow concentration camp. If you like to learn more about the trip you should read the posts from October 30 and November 1.

In The Mist

Podgorze is the other Krakow. West of Vistula river – opposite the old town – there are no magnificent old buildings, no picturesque places and no cozy cafes for locals and tourists. Severity hangs over the houses from the 19th century and the interwar period. Many facades are blackened by the smoke of industry, some house are empty – the windows boarded up. Podgorze is the district in which the Nazis established a ghetto – for its Jewish inhabitants it was the beginning of the end. Further west is Plaszow, the territory of a former concentration camp.

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Under a Blue Sky

When I woke up the sky was deep blue, the weather report promised 35 degrees. I decided to stay in the city and to walk to the Jewish cemetery and the nearby former concentration camp site. It was a sad walk.

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Lessons from Yanovska

Yanovska, a former concentration camp in Lviv, was among the locations of horror during the German occupation of Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, this place is largely unknown. What would be the benefit if we knew more about it? And what is needed to happen, so we can learn something from Yanovska?

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