Mizoch (Mizocz) is a small town in Volhynia. The population was composed of Ukrainians, Poles and Jews – until World War II. The scars of the past are still visible in Mizoch; the town’s center remained half empty until the present day.
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.
Sylvia, Katharina, our wonderful driver Vasyl and I have just returned from Trochenbrod (Trachimbrod). It was a long day trip to a place that has completely disappeared. An all-Jewish town which was wiped out in the Holocaust and resurrected as literature in the novel “Everything Is Illuminated” by Jonathan Safran Foer.
At the turn of the year I traveled in Ukraine again. This time I was in Volhynia (Volhyn), a historical region between Galicia and Belarus. My trip took me to Trochenbrod, Lutsk, Rivne, Dubno and Ostroh. Back in Lviv, I made an excursion to Olesko and Busk in Galicia. Now I have completed a selection of black and white photos of the trip.
What can I say about Rivne, the city where I stayed for my trips to Ostroh and Dubno? Very little is left from old Rivne. The city was rebuilt after the war in Stalin style. The suburbs consist mainly of Soviet apartment blocks from the Brezhnev era. In the center is a huge theater – sculptures dance on its roof into a bright future that never took place.
In Dubno probably more historical substance is preserved then in much larger Rivne, where I stay in a hotel. At the market square a number of typical Jewish functional houses are still standing, with a shop in the ground floor and an apartment with balcony on the first floor. One of Dubno’s most important monuments is the former synagogue. It is easy to find and is located in close vicinity to the central market square.
The synagogue of Ostroh is in a sad state. However, the Jewish cemetery was found in surprisingly good condition during my today’s visit. I have rarely seen such a well-kept Jewish cemetery in Ukraine.Continue reading
Volhynia was ruled from Lutsk for centuries. The impressive fortress that was never conquered throughout its history, still bears witness of this periode. The massive towers of the fortress are without doubt the landmark of the city, but there is more to discover. Join me on a walk through Lutsk with its multiethnic past and present!
Trochenbrod (Trachimbrod, Sofiyovka) was an all-Jewish town that was completely wiped out. Not a single stone has been preserved from a place with formerly 6,000 residents. Nevertheless Trochenbrod has a unique afterlife – the place became famous through Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel “Everything Is Illuminated” and the film adaptation by the same title. Like many others, I thought Trochenbrod was fiction. But Trochenbrod existed.