Re: Test Yahoo Podhajce Group > Podhajce Group... Testing

Randall Babtkis

YES, thank you Jerome for taking good care of us and for building a new link.

Like Jill, and some others here, I visited Podhajce in late 2016, along with my cousin Margaret Hellman of Copenhagen, and my wife, writer Carolyn Cooke. It was my second visit, though no easier to get around those rutted roads than in 2011. It seemed there were a few more cars, and a few less donkey carts slowing us down, but the infrastructure has not been improved since the Soviet era. Alex Dunai aldunai@... of Lviv was our driver/translator. In 2016 we drove a bit further to visit two more villages, Vyshnivchyk and Issakow, mentioned in family documents. Issakow possibly holds a key to the origins to my mother’s family name, Esecover.

Unlike Podhajce and Vyshnivchyk, Issakow was not really a Jewish populated village  – no Hebrew graveyard there. But we managed to hear, firsthand, at least one living memory of a next-door-neighbor presence: kids playing together in the open space between Jewish and non-Jewish houses, before the war. 

Regarding Caryl Foster's question yesterday, my experience was that Ukraine is not an effortless (or uncomplicated) country to visit. We reached Podhajce, via an overnight train from Krakow, Poland, not far from to the beautiful and crumbling city of Lviv. Alex arranged a hotel there on my first trip in 2011, picked me up the next morning, and drove us to Podhajce. The drive lasted about two hours, each way. Carolyn noticed a detail I missed on my first drive with Alex – a baseball bat he carries in the back seat of his Mitsubishi Outlander.

Podhajce, like Issakow and Vyshnivchyk all emptied of Jewish life – those villages still exist! Hope to get back again one day soon.

Randall Babtkis

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