(Ivano-Frakivsk, 18.10.2013 - 19.10.2013) ...unless you are prepared to face a most depressing experience by visiting the Nadvirna Jewish Cemetery. Reading the Report of the International Jewish Cemetery Project on Nadvirna in advance, my expectations were quite moderate:
"No wall, fence, or gate surrounds. 101 to 500 stones, most in original location and between 50%-75% toppled or broken, date from 1709 to 20th century. Location of any removed stones is unknown. Some tombstones have traces of paint on their surfaces. The cemetery contains no known mass graves. Municipality owns property used for Jewish cemetery and industrial or commercial use. Properties adjacent are commercial-industrial and residential. The cemetery boundaries are smaller now than 1939 because of commercial-industrial development."
That's true, "no wall, fence, or gate surrounds" and the earth wall left-hand side of the ohel has no geological origin but is the result of vandalized and haphazardly stacked headstones.
Before me lay hundreds of partially artistic headstones, each representing a Jewish community in Galicia, the community of my ancestors too, that had been annihilated during the Holocaust.
Less than two dozens headstones are defying the desecration of the - remains of the - Nadvirna Jewish Cemetery, today a site of decay.
I am deeply grieved and furious at the same time. I have visited and photgraphed a huge number of Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe during the last decade, but none of them was in such a deplorable condition as this one. Where was the Nadvirna Municipality, where was the Ukrainian Jewish Community, where the inhabitants of Nadvirna, where the volunteers, where was just a single righteous human being to save the Nadvirna Jewish Cemetery from the certain death? As I'm starting to hold anyone, who is crossing my path, responsible for this cultural outrage, it's high time to leave!
See also: FROM KOLOMIYA TO IVANO-FRANKIVSK by Christian Herrmann