Ukraine Blues

The surrounding countryside of Kiev, and other cities, such as Lviv, and even my own ancestral hometown, Bolekhiv, are quiet in the night, while the Russians prepare their next attempts to maneuver their positions, to be in alignment with their next forward march into the fray. By now, they know that they will continue to meet with resistance from the Ukrainian defenders. These are not nationalists, like the propaganda espoused by the Putin regime would have it known; rather, these are loyal citizens of a country that has been trying to gain its complete freedom for decades. True, it was Ukrainian nationalists in the midst of WW2, who were no friends of the Jewish population in Bolechov, Poland in 1939, when the Soviets retreated. However, the current generation of Ukrainians are not responsible for the sins of their ancestors.

After WW2, my ancestral hometown fell in under the new lines of demarcation, designating the city as Bolekhiv in the newly established boundaries of Soviet Ukraine. And, now, 58 years later, and, incidentally, fifty-eight miles south of Lviv, I wonder how far the smoldering torches of war have receded, or perhaps impeded upon the place where the graves of my ancestors rest. Of course, most of them, were actually buried in either one of two mass graves. The first, 7 km outside of Bolechov (now, Bolekhiv) in the Tanaiwa forest. The other, hastily made grave in the actual cemetery. This cemetery is the best preserved Jewish cemetery in Europe. I have always wanted to visit, since I “found” my ancestors through genealogical research. And, now, How am I to do so? Ultimately, if am able to do so in the future, will I be entering an independent Ukraine, or Soviet-controlled Ukraine?

My ancestors souls,

transcend earthly boundaries,

knowing only peace.

© 2022 all rights reserved


Author: Tzvi Fievel

My focus is on the synthesis of psychology, religion, and writing. I have undergraduate degrees in Psychology and English. Additionally, I hold a certificate in Rubenfeld Synergy (psychophysical re-education).

9 thoughts on “Ukraine Blues”

  1. This was so, so interesting. Great haibun.vOf course more than that, very more. I hope to take a photograph of the cemetary in Bolekhiv
    and if/when get to Lviv I will try to make a diversion. I agree completely with your comments. I have met quite a few Ukrainian Jewish people in Odesa who are proud to stand by their fellow Odesians in every way. There is just not any gap between their shoulders.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow. Please, do not go out of your way, if there is any danger that you might incur if and when making a diversion to Bolekhiv.
      On the other hand with G-d’s grace, if you were able to do so, I would be deeply indebted to you.
      Thank you so much for offering. G-d bless you and your brothers in arms. Shalom, Tzvi Fievel Schnee

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so interesting and tragic, too. That part of the world, where my ancestors also come from (and what is now Belarus), has gone through so many trying times. And as you say, “the current generation of Ukrainians are not responsible for the sins of their ancestors.” I hope you will be able to visit there someday.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The story of what happened to Jews in Ukraine would perhaps not have happened that way if it hadn’t been because the Holodomor was still in people’s memories… I have read a little bit of Timothy Snyder’s writing and he explain it well I think

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: