Krakow – No Sentimental Journey

In Krakow, my love to Eastern Europe and its Jewish heritage begun about 20 years ago. Since then I have been there again and again. Last weekend I was back in Krakow. Much has changed since my first visit. Krakow is now a city of mass tourism and it is also the Jewish past and present, which attracts visitors from all over the world.

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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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Photo Exhibition “Searching For Traces” opened in Cologne

On September 17 my photo exhibition “Searching For Traces – Jewish Heritage in Western Ukraine” was opened in the hall of the Regional Association of the Rhineland in Cologne. The exhibition consists of a selection of my black and white images from Galicia, Podolia and Bukovina. Since October 2012, I repeatedly traveled in Ukraine – with me my old analog camera. This project has now come to a first climax and the future will show whether this is an end or a beginning.

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Uhniv, Buchach and Hrymailiv in black and white

The black and white films and scans from my recent trip to Ukraine are back from the photo lab. The synagogue and the Beit Midrash (House of Study) in Uhniv, the Jewish cemetery in Buchach and the imposing synagogue in Hrymailiv are among the subjects. Here is a first selection.

A hidden prayer room

In Lviv (Lwow, Lemberg) are the remains of the most famous and oldest synagogue in the territory of Ukraine, the “Golden Rose”. Of the approximately 70 synagogues in the city only two more have survived the German occupation, almost every guidebook mentions them. Virtually unknown, however, is a prayer room which is hidden in a basement.

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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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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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