11 September 2018

Meeting Friends & News from Czernowitz (Czernowitz, 6936 km)

(Czernowitz, 04.09.2018 - 09.09.2018) I'm willing to admit, that the heading of this post is not brilliantly witty, but the photos and notes below get straightly to the heart of my this year's Czernowitz visit.

For the 10th time since the year 2009, the ASF [Action Reconciliation Service for Peace] Volunteer Team is gathering in Czernowitz for its annual summer camp at the Jewish Cemetery. Besides others, volunteers and/or professionals hired by relatives and friends, they are doing a tremendous job, the result speaking for itself. For the very first time headstones literally come to light, which were deeply hidden over many decades.

It was my privilege to meet the worldwide-known photographer Boris Savelev in Natalya Bogomaz's recently opened Steinbarg Art Gallery on Universitätsgasse. Savelev's extraordinary photographic work has earned him a place in major international collections worldwide, among them, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and many other respectable institutions. While my holiday fund decreased significantly, I can't wait to get the new acquired artworks by Boris Savelev and Alexander Bogomaz - Natalya's son from Kiev - to Germany.

Evgenija Lopata is the Director of the International Poetry Festival Meridian Czernowitz, which year by year is perhaps the most powerful cultural and political message from Czernowitz out to the world. It is amazing to see, how many specially young people are attending the festival events - free entry to all - and how informally they are interacting with the artists from around the globe.

Dr. Oxana Matychuk is the Head of Gedankendach, the Ukrainian-German Cultural Society from Czernowitz. Together with her students, Oxana is making a substantial contribution to the success of the International Poetry Festival Meridian Czernowitz. They do this in close cooperation with the Paul Celan Literature Center on Herrengasse.

Another highlight was my visit to The Chernivtsi Museum of the History and Culture of the Bukovinian Jews  under the direction of my good friend Mykola Kuschnir. I feel honored to have met Josef Zissels, the Co-President of Vaad of Ukraine, the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine. Josef Zissels, a well-known Ukrainian Jewish dissident, aspires to a deeper commitment of the Ehpes Czernowitz-L Discussion Group in the new Holocaust Museum to be established after reconstruction in the "Beit-Kaddishin" or "House of Farewell" at the Jewish Cemetery.

Serghei Voronțov and Dragoș Olaru both are publicists and authors of several books, among them one on Traian Popovici: "TRAIAN POPOVICI punea omenia mai presus decât ambițiile și interesele politice". At the same time they are pillars of the representation of the Romanian minority in Czernowitz. In our middle, in front of the Romanian Cultural Center Eudoxiu Hurmuzachi on Herrengasse we have the Jewish artist Bronislav Tutelman. Let's view through his eyes the arrival of the Soviets in town in 1940!

Like Serghei Voronțov and Dragoș Olaru, the artist, photographer and editor Nicolae Haucă [Mykola Havka] is deeply involved in the political, cultural and social activities of the Romanian minority in Czernowitz. His brilliant photo of the "Blues Brothers" Dragoș Olaru and Bronislav Tutelman shows a moment of Romanian-Jewish harmony!?

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