A New Experience

It seems like an eternity since I was last time in Ukraine. The pandemic simply made it impossible. And it’s been almost two years now since Susanne Brahms and Rainer Krause from Blind Cat Documentary in Bremen asked me if I would support them in a TV documentary about the shtetl. Now that the whole team has been vaccinated and the infection figures in Ukraine are relatively low, this has finally become a reality. From 20 August to 5 September I was on the road in Galicia, Podolia and Bukovina. In the coming days and weeks I will report on the trip. At the beginning there is Lviv.

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There is still a lot to tell

Galicia, Kyiv, Greece and some exhibitions. There is still a lot to tell about the past year. The forced break caused by the corona virus gives me the opportunity to do it.

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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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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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The End of Silence

Thousands of Jewish tombstones were used as construction material in the Ukrainian city of Lviv – first by the German occupants during World War II, later by the Soviets. Sometimes they appear, and sometimes there are people who save them. Today, tombstones from a courtyard in downtown Lviv were returned to the Jewish cemetery by Sasha Nazar and his friends from Lviv Volunteer Center.

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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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East of Lviv through Galicia

On Monday, it was the last opportunity to travel during my recent trip to Ukraine. My friends Marla, Jay, Vasyl and I decided for a route eastwards to the towns and villages of Holohory, Zolochiv, Sasiv, Pidhirtsi and Brody with its Jewish heritage sites. Back in Lviv we had a look at Jewish tombstones recently discovered during construction works. Summed up, it was a kaleidoscopic view of beauty and horror.

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Inside Jakob Glanzer Shul

Jakob Glanzer Shul is one of the last remaining synagogues in Lviv. The building is in bad condition; an adjuncting wall already collapsed. Since years a young man fights for the preservation of the synagogue. I met him today.

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Old Lviv

Many visitors think, the old town is Lviv’s oldest part. It is not. Duke Danilo built his settlement and castle on a hill north of the present old town and named it after his son Lev. Today it is a quarter around the Old Market, where once Lviv’s reform synagogue stood – blown up during the German occupation.

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