Sent: Saturday, July 22, 2006 3:30 AM
Subject: our trip to fastov and Pavolitch by Barbara Moser of Montreal

Yesterday we took a wonderful trip back in time to the town (Fastov)
and the now village, once town (Pavolitch) where my Baba and Zaida Levit,
my mother's parents lived. Actually we were driven by a driver from ORT, a
Jewish organization with worldwide schools in technology and a member
of  their staff, Liza, 29 who speaks very good English. ORT has been
extremely hospitable to us and in the end the driver would only take
money for gas etc. $50 US. for about six hours of traveling, touring,

In Fastov, we met only one older Jew who happened to speak Hebrew, who
took us to the cemetary. My family all got out before the Holocaust
around 1915, but there were many graves of people the age of my
grandparents. We met an old woman there, not Jewish who cares for the
place with no salary. We gave her a donation. We then went on to Pavolitch,

 another hour through extremely rickety
roads, made for horses, driving alongside cows, chickens, ducks,
roosters, goats and a few people mostly on wagons. We arrived in
Pavolitch and it seems as if there was no village, just an empty
terrain with a lone brick building with still beautiful stained glass windows,
looking rather sad but still magestic, with its pink trim. We passed a
couple of women and one pointed to the building and said "museum". We
walked over and it was locked but she soon came running up and gave us
the grand tour. This museum used to be the main synagogue and was full of archives,
including the 2000 names of Jews who were slaughtered in one night in
the early 1940s. They were forced to dig their own pit on the outskirts
of town and were shot all through the night. She took us to the site
and there was a marker also in hebrew that said something like "our blood
is here." We placed flowers on the grassy mound that marked the site. In
the museum we wrote in the visitors book "My baba Malka Karasick lived
here in this once vibrant town that is no reduced to almost nothing."
Keith Levit, my first cousin was also in the guest book. He was here 10
years go. In my baba's time about 4000 Jews liived in this town. The
museum was once the main synagogue and there were two additional prayer

I grew up with my baba's stories about Pavolitch. There were so many
Jews from Pavolitch in Winnipeg that there was a Pavolitch shul! My
Zaida would drive my Baba there on Saturday morning where she would
meet all her friends. He would wait in the car because he was proud to have
"never stepped foot in a synagogue." Zaida Velode Levitus met Malka
Karasick when she was 3 and he was 6. He visited Pavolitch and gave her
a ride around her yard in a wheelbarrow.

My great grandfather, Dovide Karasick, taught in the Hebrew school in
Pavolitch. Unbelievably, an old man there who was former curator of the
museum, knew of him and Larissa, now in charge of the museum showed us
a  picture of the school. Our people lived and thrived in this town which is now no more than a ghost town.

But on a positive note, Larissa is not a Jew yet she cares deeply for our history and spent over an

hour with us explaining the contents of the museum, including rooms set up as they were when my Baba lived

in Pavolitch. She also brought us to the mass

grave and gave me flowers to place there.


It was one of the most moving
days of my life and I will never forget this time in Pavolitch. I
encourage our children, David and Debs and mine and their children to
visit this place and learn about our history, both happy and tragic. I
must also add that my baba talked about the pogroms in Pavolitch, how
she hid in the cellar while the Cossacks sliced off her father's beard.
But I believe it was not the towns people. Those left or their children
seem very kind and sensitive.