Happy birthday Ukraine!

Now both voluntary services – SVIT Ukraine and Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP) – are working at the Jewish Cemetery of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz) to clear it from rampant vegetation. While ARSP started earlier this week, SVIT will end its work-camp by the end of the week. Also volunteers of the Jewish community joined the clean-up. Old time Czernowitzers Mimi Taylor and Sylvia de Swaan visited the volunteers of both groups in the morning.
Today is Ukraine’s Independence Day and people are celebrating in the streets. A good reason to think about the contribution of Ukrainian independence to the preservation of Jewish heritage and rebirth of Jewish life.

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North of Czernowitz

Sylvia, Marla, Jay and I went for an excursion today, which lead us to Zastavna, Balamutivka and Vikno – all north of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz) – as well as to Sniatyn in the west. All of those towns and villages – except Vikno – had Jewish cemeteries, but they are not preserved at every place.

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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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SVIT Ukraine’s work-camp in Chernivti (Czernowitz) has begun

The annual work-camp by SVIT Ukraine to clean the Jewish cemetery of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz) of rampant vegetation has begun today. It is already the 9th work-camp since 2008. Young people from all over Europe and from Japan (!) came together to work during the next two weeks together. It was my pleasure to meet them today.

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A Time Of Gifts: Calendar For Free Download

Hanukkah and Christmas are coming closer – a time of gifts in which I would like to give a present to all who accompanied my trips to Eastern Europe’s Jewish past and present via Facebook and my Vanished World blog: a calendar for 2016, which can be downloaded for free and be produced on your own printer or at an on-line print shop.

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A Summer in Black and White

I was traveling twice to Ukraine during this year’s summer – once in June with my friend Sylvia de Swaan, once in July to support the volunteers of SVIT Ukraine in their work in the Jewish cemetery of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). It took an unusually long time to develop the black and white films of these two months, to scan them, make a selection and finally work them over. Now this has been completed, and here is a first selection.

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Bukovina in Black and White

So far 2015 was a busy year, four times I have been to Ukraine, once to Romania. For the first time in my life, I feel like I have traveled too much. For months I was not able to edit the black and white photos of my journeys properly. Now I’m happy to be home and finally have time to work on the photos. Here is a selection of black and white images of the journey through Bukovina in April.

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Through Bukovina and Galicia with the Volunteers

Meanwhile, I’m back home and still have to report the latest events of the recent journey. On Friday – our last day in Chernivtsi (Czernowitz) – Arthur and I have been on a day trip through Bukovina and Galicia with the volunteers of SVIT Ukraine. Vashkivtsi, Vyzhnytsia (Wischnitz), Kuty and Kosiv were the places we went to.

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Through the window

Vikno is a Ukrainian village north of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz), near the Dniester River. My friend Halyna originates from this village and yesterday she showed me the place of her childhood. With us were Halyna’s mother and our friends Tetyana and Sergey. Thank you friends!

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Hard-working volunteers, sleepy cats

It’s hot in Chernivtsi (Czernowitz), every day over 30 degrees Celsius. The volunteers of SVIT Ukraine and Action Reconciliation start working in the Jewish cemetery early in the morning to escape the heat. Today they were lucky, in the morning it was cloudy, even some rain came down.

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