Showing posts from March, 2016

'The Lost: The Search for Six of Six Million'

I recently finished reading Daniel Mendelsohn's book The Lost: The Search for Six of Six Million about his search for what happened to six of his relatives during the Holocaust. He searched specifically for the fates of relatives who lived in Bolekhiv, Ukraine, a place where his Jewish ancestors settled many centuries ago. His research took him all over the world, visiting places where the tragic events happened and meeting survivors who he hoped would be able to share with him specific details about these relatives and what happened to them. It was a very well written and engaging story, both his own journey and search, but also the story of his relatives.

I highly recommend this memoir as a good source from which to learn what exactly happened to the Jews of one particular town in Galicia. It's these personal stories that really touch you, the people become no longer just part of a statistic of all the people who perished during the war, but people you feel you knew. During …

Memoirs of Life in Prewar Galicia, WWII, and Gulag Camp: Ukrainian Version

During WWII my grandmother was separated from her sister, only to be reunited with her half a century later on the other side of the world. While my grandmother and her family succeeded in escaping Ukraine before the Soviets took over their homeland in Galicia, her sister Maria had an entirely different fate, which carried her into the underground movement, a Gulag work camp, and exile in Siberia before she was able to return to Ukraine.

By the time I was old enough to be curious about my grandmother's life in Ukraine and experiences during the war, it was too late to ask her. Fortunately, her sister took up the daunting and I'm sure emotionally difficult task of reliving her tumultuous life in order to document her experiences for her descendants. It was through these memoirs that was I was able to learn about my grandmother's life and her family, about the country I had heard so much about, about their struggle and sacrifices for a land they loved so dearly.

Although ori…

Hammer and Sickle Flag Holders in Lviv

As part of Ukraine's efforts to decommunize the country, in Lviv a few streets are being renamed and a number of memorial plaques and other objects that have Soviet symbols are being dismantled, including Soviet-era flag holders.
Here's a small collection of the hammer and sickle and star flag holders that I've come across on various streets in Lviv.
I like the juxtaposition of a Ukrainian flag in a hammer and sickle holder