Jeremy Grant and Misha Aizen at the Zbruch River

This is the foot-bridge over the river Zbrutch leading to Podvolochisk. The original structure was a wooden one, as can be seen from old photographs. The old bridge marked the border before the First World War between Tsarist Russia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Merchants, mainly Jews, would come from both sides of the river and meet on the bridge to trade. Alternatively a Volochisker could pay 30 kopeks for a one-day-pass over the bridge to Podvolochisk in Galicia.I am standing here with Misha Aizen, the head of the present-day Volochisk Jewish community, an ex-Red Army hero, a well-known local headmaster, and a very generous man who, together with his wife, put me up in their modest home and was my guide throughout my visit. He provides Matzos and other Jewish items sent on from the Joint Distribution Committee to the twenty or so Jews who remain in Volochisk and the surrounding area. He speaks no Yiddish or English, but will gladly introduce you to Chaim and Dora Barenfeld, the last two Yiddish speaking Jews of Volochisk, "biz hundert un tsvantsik", who remember the pre-war years. They are well worth a visit.


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Photographs and Text copyright by Jeremy Grant 2000

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