Aug 12 - Rivne, Ukraine

Rivne was close to 60% Jewish in the early 1900’s. We had a lovely introduction be Viktoria Chymshyt who met us a the local synagogue where she works as an Administrator. I met Vik online in the Rivne genealogy facebook group.

She shared that 30-38k Jewish people lived in Rivne, and all but 19 perished.   She indicated that the Soviet’s estimate of 17,500 was extremely low.

She gave us directions to the Memorial site where there were 2 sets of memorials. The first prepared by the Soviets does not mention the citizens killed by the Nazi’s as Jews.

The second monument created by Israeli repeats the figures but honors the Jews. It includes 69 tablets with names in 3 columns but only about 4200 are identified.


Oks and Gertzberg’s died in the Rivne akton; likely cousins of ours.

On the way to Lutzk we stopped at the Tunnel of Love, a romantic site that is a railway, where a train slowly passes once daily. The shade trees make a splendid emerald tunnel for 7km.

But of course 50 meters from the entrance is a marker honoring the slaughter of 1500 from the near by town.

Shadows are everywhere!

The Germans succeeded in removing the Jews from these lands. No one has come back ... there is little in the way of academic and commercial opportunity. If you compare the impact of the Jewish spirit of learning to the highly religious culture of the Ukrainian Orthodox congregations ... it’s striking.

I’m not trying to be mighty than thou ... but with cultural enlightenment the “tides raise all boats”.

Just my thoughts ..