From Bukovina to Bessarabia

Yesterday, we followed the traces of the Hasidic courts in Bukovina and neighbouring Galicia. We have been to the towns of Sadgora, Kuty and Vyzhnytsia – and the day before we saw how the renovation of the magnificent mortuary of Chernivtsi cemetery makes progress. Today, we went on to Bessarabia in the Republic of Moldova. Lipcani and Briceni were on our way to Bălţi, where we are right now. Now, in spring the Jewish cemeteries are beautiful enchanted gardens. Here are some photo impressions.

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From Medzhybizh back to Lviv

My friends and I had a long ride from east to west today. Starting from the Hasidic hot-spot of Medzhybizh, we returned to Lviv with stops in Volochysk, Zbarazh and Zaliztsi. Join us on the last day of our four days Jewish heritage trip through Volhynia, Podolia and Galicia in Ukraine!

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What is left of the Jewish Heritage in Góra Kalwaria?

South of Warsaw, Góra Kalwaria was once an important Hasidic court. Thanks to a friend, I was able to find what is left and preserved until the present day. There are the remains of a synagogue – waiting for renovation – and a destroyed but well maintained cemetery. And there is a strange local habit…

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A last Galician excursion

Since today I’m back home, but I have still to report on our last excursion, which led us into the Ukrainian borderlands with Poland, to Velyki Mosty, Belz and Uhniv.

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To Sadagora with the Volunteers

The volunteers of SVIT Ukraine continued their work in the Jewish cemetery in Chernivtsi (Czernowitz) today. It is hard physical work and after a five hours work-day all were exhausted. But the work-camp is not only about work; it is also about experiencing the multi-ethnic past and present of Bukovina. Today we went to Sadagora – once an important Hasidic court.

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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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Into Podolia

Vasyl, our great driver, brought Sylvia and me to Vinnytsia in Podolia today. On the way we have taken a look on the Jewish cemetery of Ternopil and have visited Medzhybizh – the place where the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism, was buried. A magic 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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On the road with the volunteers

Today I was traveling with the volunteers who work at the Jewish cemetery of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). Kosiv, Kuty and Vyzhnytsia (Wischnitz) were on the schedule. A journey through Hasidic wonderland. A wonderland that only exists in memories.

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A Galician Microcosm

Today I was in Belz. The usual bumpy roads and courageous marshrutka (mini bus) drivers. That alone does not make a story. But Belz turnes out to be unusually beautiful and interesting. Although the town is so small that one can walk through it in no time, it offers many traces of the rich heritage of Galicia. Ukrainian, Polish and Jewish traces.

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