Prof. Józef Lipman is one of the few Holocaust survivors from Boryslaw, Galicia. Together with Klaus Hasbron-Blume and other volunteers of Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ASF), he returned to Boryslaw in the fall of 2013 for the first time since the war. In Starzawa he met Stefania, his former nanny. Klaus and the volunteers of ASF visited Stefania again this year. Klaus has documented this visit in a short note that deeply moved me, and I therefore reproduce it here.
It was a short trip in early June to Galicia – only three days. But enough to explore Belz and Burshtyn and to take pictures. Today I received the scanned black-and-white films and made a first selection. Here are the results. I have not yet decided which shots I will add to the two photo exhibitions in September. What are your favorites?
The ride from Lviv (Lemberg, Lwow) to Burshtyn is wonderful. On the Galician hills poppy florishes blood red, our marshrutka (mini bus) passes horse-drawn carts, cows stroll on the road and over all storks are circling – writing enigmatic signs in the sky. Burshtyn, that is in Yiddish and Ukrainian amber. Two synagogues and a Jewish cemetery are preserved.
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.
Since I was in Ukraine in February incredibly much happened. I witnessed the revolution. When I was back home, everything changed quickly. Russia annexed Crimea, Russian fighters are terrorizing the east of the country now. Ukrainians elected a new President. Now I’m back for a short trip of four days. My first impression: In Lviv, people desire nothing more than a piece of normality. And they celebrate this normality.
Zurich Lab, a Swiss based institute that wants “psychoanalysis to meet the streets”, has published an essay of mine about my Ukraine trip in February. I am aware that some of the theses in the essay are controversial for some readers. However, I believe there are necessary discussions about history, remembrance and identity. Without it there is no self-confident future – just conspiracy theories.
My journey in February through Western Ukraine – through Galicia, Bukovina and Podolia – was another opportunity to take more photos for two exhibitions in autumn. Here is a first selection, including images from Lviv (Lemberg, Lwow), Sokal, Velyki Mosty, Zhovkva, Staryi Sambir, Ternopil, Sataniv and Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). What are your favorites?
My last day in Ukraine. Again, this day fluctuates between past and present. I visit the last remaining functioning synagogue in Lviv (Lemberg, Lwow) and experience the grief of the people for those slained on Maidan.Continue reading
My trip is coming to an end. This morning I strolled with a group of architecture students through Chernivtsi (Czernowitz), now I ‘m after a few hours on the train already back in Lviv (Lemberg, Lwow). Ukrainians continue to mourn those killed on Maidan.Continue reading
When I asked Mykola Kushnir, the director of the Jewish Museum in Chernivtsi (Czernowitz), how I could see the wall paintings in the former synagogue of Novoselitsa, he invited me spontaneously to go there with him today. A really nice and generous offer – especially as Mykola has the key to the synagogue. Thanks, Mykola, for this wonderful excursion – the last on this journey!