Through the Rain

A new Jewish heritage trip through western Ukraine has begun. For four days my friends and I will explore towns and villages in Galicia and Volhynia. Today, through constantly falling rain, we traveled from Lviv to Ternopil and had stops in Toporiv, Lopatyn, Berestechko, Demydivka, Mlyniv and Dubno.

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From Ivano-Frankivsk to Lviv

May 25 was the last day of our 12-day journey through Galicia, Bukovina and Bessarabia in Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. Our itinerary took us on the way back to Lviv to Tysmenytsia, Halych, Burshtyn, Rohatyn and Bibrka.

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From Lviv to Chernivtsi

Our journey through Galicia, Bukovina and Bessarabia goes on. During the last two days we went further south. Between the regional metropolises of Lviv and Chernivtsi we visited the towns and villages of Busk, Olesko, Brody, Skalat, Hrymailiv, Sataniv, Husiatyn, Chabarivka, Zalishchyky and Yuzhynets. What a trip!

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A new Experience

Today, a new journey to Jewish heritage sites has begun and it is different from all others before. I’m going to guide a group of 16 Germans through Galicia, Bukovina and Bessarabia in Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. We started with day trips from Lviv – while one part of the group went to Drohobych and was guided there by the wonderful Tanya Firman, the other part went north to Zhovkva, Uhniv, Belz and Velyki Mosty.

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Transcarpathia is different

Yesterday was the last day of our 5 days trip through Transcarpathia. We visited Jewish and non-Jewish heritage sites in Bila Tserkva, Velykyi Bychkiv, Rakhiv, Yasynia, Halych and Bilshivtsi. On our way home we contemplated on what we saw and experienced. Transcarpathia differs in many aspects from Galicia.

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From the Flatlands to the Mountains

Our route lead us along the Romanian border today. We found Jewish heritage sites in Vynohradiv, Sasovo, Khust, Tiachiv, Teresva and Solotvyno – and beyond this the traces of literally collapsed industries and profitable smuggling activities.

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In the Borderlands to Hungary and Romania

Our Transcarpathia trip goes on. South of Mukachevo are towns and villages with traces of a rich Jewish heritage. Berehove is known for it, but we also found traces in Irshava, Velyki Komiaty, Khmilnyk, Siltse and Kamyanske – cemeteries and synagogues, and in Velyki Komiaty even the remains of a wooden synagogue.

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In Uzhhorod and Mukachevo

The damages to Jewish life are visible in the Transcarpathian towns of Uzhhorod and Mukachevo: synagogues used for other purposes than worship, a destroyed cemetery and the missing Jewish presence in public life due to mass deportation and extermination under Hungarian and German rule and later Sovietization. Nevertheless, there are rays of hope. In both towns we found functioning synagogues, active communities and well maintained cemeteries.

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A long Way through the Carpathians

The first day of our new trip. Marla, Jay, Vasyl and I left Lviv in the morning. We had a first stop in Drohobych, continued via Boryslav and Skhidnytsia, and finally arrived in Uzhhorod shortly before sundown. We found a beautiful church, two beit midrash (Jewish study houses) and one of the last surviving wooden synagogues of Ukraine.

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Beautiful Budapest

Hungary’s capital Budapest is known for its rich Jewish heritage but also for its present vivid Jewish community. Those, liberated from Budapest ghetto by the Red Army laid the foundation for the renewal of Jewish life. Their descendants are heirs of a unique legacy. During a trip in early January I had the opportunity to experience some highlights of Jewish Budapest.

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