Volhynia, Ukraine

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City Notes
Oleksandr Denysenko

(contracted by Marvin Brooks)

11 July 2003

Locating the pre-World War II streets turned out to be easy. Jagielonska is now called Lesi Ukrainki; Bazylianska is called Danyla Halytskoho. Both streets are located in the very center of the city. The city did not change much since the end of The War; the synagogue remains one of the main landmarks of the city. During World War II there were some battles in the city, but most of the buildings survived the fighting.

After the war the synagogue was turned into a gymnasium (sports hall) and is supplemented with a swimming pool; it is the property of the Dinamo sports club. All of the synagogue's objects and decorations of religious relevance have been lost.

During the Holocaust the area to the East of the synagogue was turned into a ghetto. All the Jews were moved there; by mid–1942 most of the Jewish residents had been exterminated. There are several places where massive exterminations occurred. One such location is in Sofijowka; this village was completely destroyed, and all its residents killed. Mr. Gaidar, chairman of the Jewish Secular Cultural Society of Lutsk, is planning to build a monument there. Members of the Jewish society are working to commemorate the places of mass extermination of Jews, which are numerous in the area around Lutsk.

Another Lutsk synagogue survived The War and was turned into a philharmonic hall by the Soviets. Recently it was given to the Jewish Secular Society and is now used as a Jewish cultural center. The old Jewish cemetery was located near this building; School Number One is now on the site of the cemetery, covering the pre-war graves.

Jagelionska is the central street of Lutsk, with a nice promenade and plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops. At the antique store on this street, I found and bought the old Chanukah candelabrum and the Torah crown from the local synagogue. There is one little contradiction about this street. There is no building number sixty-four, the numeration finishes with number fifty-two, though there are several new larger post–war houses, that might have replaced the more numerous smaller houses, hence the numeration is different. Finding building number eight on Bazylianska street turned out to be easy. This whole area has survived the war fairly well. The houses are small but very solid; the ground floors are still used for businesses, mostly stores.

More than one– thousand Jews now live in Lutsk, most of whom came to Lutsk from the eastern Ukraine after World War II.

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  • Last Modified: 04-07-2016

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