Alive and Destroyed / Movement 10
Peremyshliyani, Ukraine 2014 / 5774
The road to the Jewish cemetery, a local massacre site during the Holocaust.
Gliwice, Poland 2011 / 5771
Jewish headstones recovered from the bottom of a local river, returned to the Jewish cemetery.
Sambir, Ukraine 2014 / 5774
Though Jews for centuries formed from a third to half of the population of Sambir, Jewish history in the town is all but invisible. No Jewish communal buildings stand, the vast Jewish cemetery contains not a single standing original tombstone, and there are no historical markers in the town to the lost Jewish community. One might say that for a (shrinking) number of older citizens of contemporary Sambir, Jewish Sambir remains a memory, while for some greater number it is a story but not a memory, and for still others, it is neither a memory nor a story. This photograph offers a particular interpretation of the town’s relationship to its Jewish history. We see newly built homes proceeding in a line across the top of the image, divided by a dirt track––a daily walking path––from a garbage pile. It takes a moment to recognize the fragments of Jewish headstones in the garbage pile. On the one hand, the headstones appear to attract detritus, indeed to be detritus––unseen detritus, sitting “below” the town’s houses, almost like an antique buried in a garden. On the other hand, the fact that the tombstones attract detritus suggests that they retain a certain power, as if the destroyed cemetery cannot be ignored by citizens taking their daily walks.
Lviv, Ukraine 2014 / 5774
Following the destruction of Jewish life and civilization in the Holocaust, it is not uncommon to find historically Jewish communal sites reused for all manner of purposes. Generally this repurposing has occurred without public acknowledgement, such that many locals remain ignorant of these sites’ Jewish history. Like other photographs in this cluster, this image shows an important and indeed, sacred site of Jewish heritage as it exists today. Lviv’s old Jewish cemetery, once one of the largest in eastern Galicia, had graves dating to the mid-fourteenth century. After the Nazis destroyed it, the Soviets paved it over and created on top of it the city’s largest open market, known as the Krakivsky Rynok, specializing in low-end merchandise. Until 2014, no signs or placards indicated the existence of a Jewish cemetery whatsoever. In 2014, in the sliver of land between the Rapoport Street Hospital and the Krakivsky Rynok’s southern fence, an anonymous person erected a small marker in Ukrainian and Hebrew listing the names of famous rabbis buried in the cemetery. While at last acknowledging the cemetery’s existence, the marker fails to explain where it is actually located, what its boundaries are, how it served Lviv’s Jewish community over the centuries, or anything about its history. On the grounds of Rapoport Street hospital, just beside the Krakivsky market, recovered fragments of Jewish headstones sit in piles, having been anonymously deposited there.
Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine 2014 / 5774
The old Jewish cemetery, unmarked and paved over, partly overbuilt with housing.
Sokal, Ukraine, 2014 / 5774
Recovered Jewish tombstones deposited in the town's abandoned Polish Catholic cemetery. The town's Jewish cemetery no longer exists, having been completely overbuilt with new housing.
Berezhany, Ukraine 2014 / 5774
View of the town of Berezhany from its destroyed Jewish cemetery.
Zhovkva, Ukraine 2014 / 5774
The boundary wall of the destroyed Jewish cemetery, against which numerous executions took place during the Holocaust. Locals speak of still finding bullet shells in the dirt beside it.
Recovered Jewish headstones deposited on the grounds of the Jewish cemetery, a vast area now serving as a public park.