On September, 2, 2018, Lviv hosted the ceremonies to commemorate victims of the Lviv ghetto and Janowska concentration camp. The program of events was the continuation of the first stage of the city project “Lwów, לעמבערג,Lviv, Lemberg’43: City that Did (Not) Survive,” a series of commemorate activities to honour the 75th anniversary of the liquidation of the ghetto and Janowska concentration camp in Lviv.
The first part of the memorial activities started in the Grand Session Hall of Lviv City Council with an award ceremony “Key to the City: Resuming Memory of the Past.” 75 organizations and initiatives dealing with research, preservation, and promotion of Jewish heritage of Lviv were awarded with the 75 replicas of a synagogue key from an art installation by a US sculptor and researcher Rachel Stevens, author of the exhibition “Key to the City” exhibited in the Center for Urban History. The 75 copies are a symbol of fragility of life, the years of oblivion, and the importance of bringing the memory back.
“We have plans to build a big memorial site to glorify a human being, human dignity, people with God in their hearts. Today, the symbolic keys will be awarded to very nice people. Allow me to express the gratitude to everyone engaged in the organization of this solemn event in this room. Thank you to everyone who is present here and who is not here with us. This moment and this day is part of history of our city.” city mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadovyi stated in his welcome address.
The first “Key to the City” was presented to Adel Dianova, director of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Charity Hesed Arieh, for her personal contribution and the contribution of the organization in the many years of studying, preserving, and promoting Jewish history and culture. “This key used to open the door to a synagogue, one of the many synagogues that used to be in Lviv before the war, and destroyed later. The door is no longer there, the synagogue is no longer there, but the key is able to open the door of our memory and of our willingness to preserve the memory, and to make the history of Lviv common for Ukrainians, and for Jewsih people,” Ms Adel said.
Afterwards, Andriy Sadovyi and Adel Dianova together presented the keys to Janina Hescheles, author of a diary “Through the Eyes of a Twelve-Year-Old Girl”, a daughter of the editor of the Chwila Zionist newspaper, a survivor of Janowska concentration camp; and to Mariusz Schwartz, co-chairperson of a charity fund “Leopolis – Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine” (Munich, Schwartz), a son of Alexander Schwartz, prisoner of Janowska concentration camp, the only survivor from the Schwartz family. “It is such a happiness to live to this day, here are my sons, my family,” Janina Hescheles said.
The 75 nominees include: Aaron Weiss, PhD in History, representative of the Joint International Organization, a Holocaust survivor from Boryslav; Myroslav Marynovych, a human rights advocate, dissident, vice-rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, co-founder of Ukrainian Helsinki Group for Human Rights, ex-President of Ukrainian of Ukrainian branch of Pen-club International; Marla Rauscher Osborn, director of the Rohatyn Jewish Heritage NGO; Iris Gleichman, project coordinator for “Municipal Development and Rejuvenation of Lviv City Old Town” of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) in 2009-2016; Harald Binder, funder of the Center for Urban History.
Another symbolic key was presented to Andriy Usach, a research fellow of the “Territory of Terror” museum, “for doing research in the history of the Holocaust in Lviv, and engagement in academic and public discussions on the Holocaust and its memory in present-day Ukraine.”
The next part of the event continued in the Pisky terrain (Omelian Kovch street), former premises of Janowska slave labour camp. It started with the group prayer with the chief rabbi of Lviv and Western Ukraine Mordechai Shlomo Bald at the memorial stone. remembrance speeches were pronounced by Janina Hescheles (Altman), Arthur Schwartz, a grandson of Alexander Schwartz, former prisoner of Janowska camp, and a Lviv city mayor Andriy Sadovyi. Later, Rafael Altman (Janina Hescheles’s grandson) and Arthur Schwartz lit the memorial candles. All the others added their memory stones, in line with the Jewish tradition. Afterwards, Ukrainian Festival Orchestra conducted by Ivan Ostapovych, performed Part 1 and 3 of the Tragic Symphony No 6 by an Austrian composer and conductor Gustav Mahler.
The program of memorial activities concluded at the Space of Synagogues, with a prayer concert engaging a vocal instrumental ensemble “The Varnichkes” from the All-Ukrainian Jewish Charity Fund Hesed Arieh, Serhiy Havryliuk (alto), a project by Natalia Vakshynska, and Eleonora Razhon (vocal).
The program “Lwów, לעמבערג, Lviv, Lemberg’43: City that Did (Not) Survive” is underway. Exhibitions and activities commemorating the 75th anniversary of liquidation of Lviv ghetto and Janowska concentration camp will last until the end of the year. They include the exhibition “Janowska Slave Labour Camp – Industry of Terror” at the Memorial Museum of Totalitarian Regimes “Territory of Terror.” It tells about the center of Nazi terror in Lviv and in Western Ukraine during the 1941-1944 Nazi occupation. The exhibition will last until December, 31, 2018, at 45 г Chornovola Ave.
Free admittance to all program events.
Project coordinator – Memorial museum of totalitarian regimes “Territory of Terror” in cooperation with the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe.
Partners: Office for Culture of the Department for Development of Lviv City Council, All-Ukrainian Jewish Charity Fund Hesed Arieh, Emil Domberger Charity Fund B’nej B’rit Leopolis, Lviv Organ Hall, Lviv Sholem Aleichem Society of Jewish Culture, Rohatyn Jewish Heritage.
Information support: Tvoe Misto, “Old Lviv Photograps’ information edition, Cultural Events of Lviv, “Hadashot” newspaper, HISTORIANS.IN.UA, international intellectual journal Ukraina Moderna, Journal KRYTYKA, Zaxid.Net, Afisha Lvova.