Excerpts of a Letter from Jeremy Grant to Helen May,

October 6, 2000

Dear Helen,

I am back in London now, but was just yesterday in Volochisk. Had a great time. Stayed there for 2 days in the hotel. Weather was good. I managed to take some more photos of the cemetery and record the names and dates on all the legible grave stones, though most have no family names.

Popped over to Podvolochisk, too. There the first person I met outside the museum happened to be a Jewess, who showed me to the Jewish graveyard and introduced me to the 2 other Jews who live there, a young couple who are interested in their heritage and want to make a holocaust memorial, but who have no money, no contact with Jews in the outside world and are even afraid to speak about the subject in the presence of their fellow townsfolk. I shall try to help them as much
as I can.

In Volochisk I became like a local celebrity. I was the first tourist the hotel had seen for some years.  I was asked to speak in the school, interviewed on the local radio about Hershl, and presented with a book by the mayor. He is more interested in attracting business and tourism to present- day Volochisk than in its past and especially its Jewish past (this is still a taboo subject there), but I managed to persuade him to put something in the Volochisk museum about the pre-war Jewish population and their demise ( at the moment there's nothing), in return for inviting his son to come and study for a while in London. I'm not sure that either side of the bargain will come to pass, but at least I tried, and at least I have a contact there with some influence. Maybe he could write something for the website too.

As for Misha (Misha Aizen, the head of the Jewish community in Volochisk), I saw him. He is well thank G-d. He got your letter and apparently replied, but you obviously didn't receive it. Anyway I got him to write another and I'll send it to you, maybe with some new photos................

I'll write to Misha again about the Trugmans. He's written something about them in Russian in the letter I'll send you, but I get the impression he didn't know them personally, and was away at the front when the Volochisk Jews were killed...........

I was in Odessa beforehand for a month so I was already able to understand conversations in Russian, though my speaking is basic, and I'm sure much editing will have to go on of my radio interview. In fact in Volochisk most people speak in Ukrainian rather than Russian, so I learnt a bit of Ukrainian too.............


A List of legible gravestones in the old Jewish cemetery at Volochisk as
recorded by J.H. Grant on September 3rd 2000.

1)Yankov Moyshe bar Avrohom , died Mar Kheshvon (Oct-Nov) 1873.
2)Rokhl bas Avrohom.
3) Etl bas Toyviye.
4) Yehude Beyomin bar Menakhem Nokhem Halevi SEGAL.
5) Mordekhe bar Shimshon Dovid, died 1895.
6) Zev bar Eliezer, died Sivan (May-June) 1900.
7) Reyzl bas Yehude, died 1901.
8) Pesiye bas Shloyme, died 1897.
7) Yisroel bar Moyshe.
8) Tsvi Meyer bar Avrohom [Yoysef?], died Mar Kheshvon (Oct-Nov).
9) Khayim [bar Avrohom?].
10) Yeshue bar Moyshe STERN /STERMER /STERMAN [?], died childless, 7th Oder
11) Osher[?] Shmuel Yehude bar Eliezer, died Elul (Aug-Sept) 1927.
12) Yoysef ben Khayim Yehude, died Mar Kheshvon (Oct-Nov) 1925.
13) Leminski [?].
 The Cemetery at Volochisk

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Text copyright by Jeremy Grant 2000

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