Just a few notes on our trip to the Ukraine this summer with Louis Schonfeld
and Family Tree:
Berehovo/Berehi/all the towns we went through in the Ukraine look like they
must have looked 100 years ago. The people looked worn and haggard. In
Berehovo, there is a large square (I bought a post card dated 1978) where
there had been a statue of Lenin -- no longer there. The synagogue was
replaced by a music hall. Gypsy beggar children were all over us -- touching,
always touching. In Berehovo (as in other towns), there was a market --
people brought their wares, bread, chickens and fish(no refrigeration -- just
laying there in 104 degrees covered with flies), eggs, etc. Outside of
Berehovo, we saw horse-driven carts -- I did not see any mechanization at all.
We ate breakfast at the hotel in Mukechevo -- eggs were safe -- scrambled,
well done. Dinner was always at a nice restaurant. We brought (>from home)
food for lunch -- raisins, tuna fish, crackers, trailmix, cheese/crackers,
granola bars, etc. -- ate in the bus. Before we reached the border, we bought
bottled water (gas or still) for drinking, brushing our teeth. We were told
not to have dairy products (poor refrigeration), water, salad (which would be
washed in the water). A few of the people ate those things anyway and were
fine. I did not take a chance.
The roads were in very poor condition. The gravestones were in Hebrew.
We were very comfortable in an air-conditioned bus but outside of Budapest and
throughout the Ukraine, of course no AC --- no screens on the windows and lots
and lots of mosquitoes. Also we noticed that fans are almost unheard of --
only one restaurant had one. The locals did not seem to mind the 104 degree
heat even though it was a heat wave they are not used to.
We went through the following villages, stopping at cemeteries and "talking"
to the locals -- Berehi, Botrad, Kaszony, Lalovo, Drahovo, Lipsha, Hust,
Fekete Ardo and Vinogradov. The larger towns were Berehovo, Uzhgorod and
Mukechevo. In Lalovo, we "communicated" with the children with Life Savers
and chewing gum and with the adults through our interpreters. They were all
very friendly. It must have been the biggest event in the past 50 years,
because it seems like the whole town came out to see what the excitement was.
We walked through some of the villages -- it was an emotional experience for
me since my mother and her family probably walked the same streets.