En Route with the Volunteers of SVIT Ukraine

A cemetery clean-up is not only about work. Volunteers who joined SVIT Ukraine’s annual ‘workcamp’ to clean the Jewish cemetery of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz) also have the opportunity to learn about the multi-ethnic past and present of western Ukraine, make friends and have fun. Yesterday, we went for an excursion to Jewish heritage sites in Kosiv, Kuty and Vyzhnytsia – and had a pick-nick next to the scenic village of Sheshory.

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Exploring Chernivtsi with Friends and Volunteers

Both, SVIT Ukraine and Action Reconciliation for Peace have started their annual clean-up in the Jewish cemetery of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). Despite the hot weather the volunteers bravely remove the rampant vegetation of the cemetery. Being with them is a good pretext to stroll through the beautiful city.

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Time Traveling between Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi

Last Sunday, my friends and I continued our trip to Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). We had stops in Lysets, Bohorodchany, Nadvirna, Deliatyn, Kolomyia, Kosiv, Kuty and Vyzhnytsia to visit Jewish cemeteries, former synagogues, Hasidic courts and mass grave sites.

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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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