JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen My Ukraine ShtetlSchleppers Trip report #general
I recently returned >from a trip set up by ShtetlSchleppers' genius Joanna
Flectcher to Ukraine. It was absolutely fabulous! It turned out that I was the
only person wanting to go at that time so Joanna set me up with a terrific guide-
translator and driver, who took me to every possible shtetl my various ancestors
could have been from. We criss-crossed Ukraine, looking for various Zarivkas, we
traveled >from Kiev to Odessa and spots in between, and over to the west, and back.
Geyla, my guide, had already made contacts in the towns I was looking for before I
got there. And she was also able to just go into a town/village and find exactly
what we needed. I can't tell you all how wonderful this whole trip was.
I have taken photos of every last readable grave (and some not so readable, but
still standing) in the old Jewish cemeteries of Bogapoli, Savron (and some in the
newer section), the Nikolayev in Podillia, and many in Odessa. I have sent most
of these to various Genners for English translations.
As soon as I get the translations, I will share them. I'm also trying to figure
out how to get the photos onto viewmate so that anyone who wants to see them can
do so. I'm a little computer-slow so this might take time, but if anyone wants to
see them, let me know privately and I'll send what's relevant to them.
One thing I felt completely shocked at was how little I had known about the impact
of the Holocaust in Ukraine. Yes, maybe we've heard of Baba Yar, but mass murders
happened in villages everywhere I went. Huge huge numbers of Jews were just walked
to ravines and shot, then buried--whether they were dead or alive. In what I think
was my grandfather's village there was the one concentration camp I saw--
Bogdonifka-- where it was said the Germans performed some kind of medical
experiments (does anyone know more?. Then there is a gigantic field in which
54,600 people were shot. It's astounding. And there were very few Jews left
anywhere--except perhaps in Uman, where the community is rebuilding, in Odessa,
in Nikolayev, and in Medzibetch (my spelling isn't right here). I will send out a
separate message about Bogdonifka.
Anyway, I can't say enough good things about Joanna, Geyla, Oleg (my driver), or
this trip. All were just fantastic. Thanks to all of them, and a big
recommendation for the whole thing to anyone planning such a trip.
New York City
UKRAINE: WISHNEPOLSKY, KREMENETSKY, ZITOMERSKY, TIPLETSKY, SALZMAN, WIS
MODERATOR NOTE: JewishGen's ShtetlSchleppers service provides group tours to a
variety of destinations, as well as advice and assistance with independent travel
to ancestral towns. See http://www.jewishgen.org/shtetlschleppers/ for further