20 October 2013

You Better Steer Clear of Nadvirna en Route to... (Ivano-Frankivsk - 4223 km)

(Ivano-Frakivsk, 18.10.2013 - 19.10.2013) ...unless you are prepared to face a most depressing experience by visiting the Nadvirna Jewish Cemetery. Reading the Report of the International Jewish Cemetery Project on Nadvirna in advance, my expectations were quite moderate:

"No wall, fence, or gate surrounds. 101 to 500 stones, most in original location and between 50%-75% toppled or broken, date from 1709 to 20th century. Location of any removed stones is unknown. Some tombstones have traces of paint on their surfaces. The cemetery contains no known mass graves. Municipality owns property used for Jewish cemetery and industrial or commercial use. Properties adjacent are commercial-industrial and residential. The cemetery boundaries are smaller now than 1939 because of commercial-industrial development."

That's true, "no wall, fence, or gate surrounds" and the earth wall left-hand side of the ohel has no geological origin but is the result of vandalized and haphazardly stacked headstones.

Before me lay hundreds of partially artistic headstones, each representing a Jewish community in Galicia, the community of my ancestors too, that had been annihilated during the Holocaust.

Less than two dozens headstones are defying the desecration of the - remains of the - Nadvirna Jewish Cemetery, today a site of decay.

I am deeply grieved and furious at the same time. I have visited and photgraphed a huge number of Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe during the last decade, but none of them was in such a deplorable condition as this one. Where was the Nadvirna Municipality, where was the Ukrainian Jewish Community, where the inhabitants of Nadvirna, where the volunteers, where was just a single righteous human being to save the Nadvirna Jewish Cemetery from the certain death? As I'm starting to hold anyone, who is crossing my path, responsible for this cultural outrage, it's high time to leave!

See also: FROM KOLOMIYA TO IVANO-FRANKIVSK by Christian Herrmann


Christian Herrmann said...

Depressing indeed.

Steven Turner said...

My name is Steven Turner and I am the founder of the newly formed Nadworna Shtetl Research Group. I thank you for posting this. I will look into whether our group can get involved in organizing some kind of project to clean up this holy place. Any help you can lend us in this regard will be appreciated.

Chaim Gerlitz said...

Perhaps this righteous rage could be transformed into the financial sponsorship of a group to clean the area. Probably there are many poor locals you could pay to clean it up. Even in the USA , unless people pay to keep up gravesites, they fall into disarray. It costs 10,000 dollars for a grave site in San Diego, as does upkeep. In the South of France, unrelated to the Shoah, I saw human bones coming out of the earth, and many graves stones lieing around and broken, simply b/c no one lives there any more.

It really does not seem reasonable to expect local non-jews in 2013 to take care of a Jewish grave when wealthy Jews from Belgium and the USA and elswhere don't dedicate the resources, come on. It has zero to do with righteous or non-righteous.

Where are the righteous Jews, landsmann descendents of Nadworna, taking care of this? Most American Jews dont even know which towns their great grandparents came from, even people born in 1954 like me don't often know. When Zionism politicized the abandoning of Yiddish culture in favor of Hebrew culture, and fostered attachment, not to Poland and Ukraine, but to Israel, don't be so surprised that people don't have a romantic attachment to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that gave Jews shelter from the Germanic pogroms of the 12th century.....

chaim gerlitz said...

"where was just a single righteous human being to save the Nadvirna Jewish Cemetery from the certain death?"

Where are you? How much $ do you spend traveling around photographing graves? Its great that you do that, but maybe you could take this anger of yours and do something $ with it. Pay for a wall to be built. Etc.

Even in Poland, see: Menacham Daum, there are places where Gentiles, out of love, are taking care of and cleaning Jewish graves as part of their patrimony, and the Jewish community/mafia have interfered with them. its not that Jews dont as a group have the money to take care of Nadwirna's cemetary, its lack of interest and lack of will.

Edgar Hauster said...

That's really a remarkable comment and - since it doesn't apply only for Nadvirna - I shared it with the
Czernowitz-L Discussion Group: http://czernowitz.ehpes.com/
Nadworna Shtetl Research Group: https://sites.google.com/site/nadwornashtetl/home?pli=1
You are kindly invited to join us and to follow the discussion, which may arise from your comment. Thank you!

DocSST said...

We are here Christian. We have formed a project to clean up and fence in this cemetery. A group of us descendants visited last summer and dedicated a monument to the victims of the Shoah. Anybody wishing to find out about this project or to donate towards it please write me at nadwornashtetlrg@gmail.com.