Kremenets is the place our great grandmother seems to have grown up before marrying and leaving through Lutsk for America with baby Jeanne, my grandmother. Why did the family relocate from Radyvyliv?  Based on our tours, I believe they were looking for greater opportunities for their children. More culture and education. 

Diana arranged for a day with Voloymyr Sobchuck, an esteemed Professor of history. His passion is the genealogy of Ukrainian Nobility, but his book has a chapter on the Jewish community in Kremenets. 

So we started at the Castle. 

And from there the panorama gave us a great view of the city where we got some great background. 

Kremenets was a city of education. In fact, Kyiv University was founded when the Jusuit College was moved from Kremenets by the Russians. My lightbulb moment-the Ukrainian elite and the Jews all had a thirst for knowledge and education. As Eastern Europeans, we share that background. And Hitler just hated all the elite with Jews as the scapegoat. 

And The Jewish Quarter was located just near the college. It was destroyed when all the Jews were marched off to slaughter by the Nazis, but how it was burned is unclear. But it has been restored as a public park with all original roads intact.

One building remains. I am heartened that it’s reuse is as a children’s library. 

We visited the public museum and Volomyr gave us a wonderful tour through history. There are several rooms dedicated to Jewish history in Kremenets. 

We had a great view of the Jewish cemetery. Interesting that it is in such good condition. The story is that due to its location and landscape, although the Nazis tried to remove the headstones for reuse as roads, it was so difficult that it was left alone. 

Location location location!! So we trekked up to the cemetery to get a closer look. Actually we drove Mary, Diana’s car and she got quite the belly rub!

Although the graves were scattered and hard to reach, there was relief knowing that our ancestors were buried in the Jewish cemetery, unkept because there is nobody left to care for the graves, but identifiable as a cemetery. Unfortunately, many of our relatives were marched to the woods and massacred by the Nazis. 

They were discovered and a memorial left to mark their everlasting place on earth.