Borislaw – personal journey

9th July – 2012

Today was our “free day” which enabled us to concentrate on places of personal interest. This day was one of the main reasons I joined the group on the 6-day visit to the area.

As I filmed a couple of general scenes of the centre of Boryslav I tried to imagine if this was (more or less) the same place that Joseph Waldman (my grandfather’s brother) stood when he filmed the shaky clip from 1936 showing the centre of the town. His film clearly shows some of the businesses on the main street and then pans across a bridge over the Tys’mienica river. Today the main intersection of the town is paved over and the river runs underground from south to north. As far as I can tell from various maps I have checked the intersection is between Danya Halyts’koho St (which leads to the Wolanka suburb), Adama Mitskevycha St (which leads to Drohobycz) and Lukosiew St.

The film by Joe Waldman also shows scenes of the oil-related industry, private homes,  public buildings, children’s orphanage and members of the Waldman extended family in Boryslav in the summer of 1936. The film was given to the YIVO museum  in New York many years ago.

I had planned for this day as thoroughly as I could by sitting with cousins Ilan, Avital and Bezalel (Salek) Linhard. I went through their photographs from their similar trip last year. I watched all the video clips they gave me several times. I had watched other videos of interviews and read many articles describing life before and during the holocaust period. I read Bezalel’s book a second time and marked key passages.

Much of my expression of the events on this day are shown here in video (English and Hebrew) as well as a couple of photo albums.  The highlight was no doubt the encounter with the Yaakov and Klara Linhard family business and home at No. 31 Lukosiew St. but there were many other similar encounters through members of our group and their own personal stories.

The picture above shows me at the entrance to the staircase that runs down into the basement where the Linhard family confectionery was located.  Amazingly the sign for the business can still be seen, 70 years later, on the roof the staircase leading to the basement. The name “Lido” and word “cukiernicza” means confectionery. In the basement there were about 8-10 rooms and even signs on the wall where a large oven must have stood. The electric wiring and fuses seemed to be from the original building. According to Bezalel Linhard, who survived the holocaust, a Ukrainian policeman fired his rifle through the ground level window of the confectionery and killed Yaakov Linhard. Apparently Yetka Greenberg (a sister to my grandmother) also ran a “Linhard” confectionary in the Wolanka suburb of Borislaw where she lived with her husband.

Above is the building in which the Linhard confectionery was located in the basement. The family of Yaakov and Klara Linhard lived in an upper-floor apartment. The address is 31, Lukosiew St. The entrance to the basement is on the left-hand side. This picture was taken by Ilan Linhard in 2011.

Up this road about 100 metres on the right-hand side we visited another police station which existed during the war and the staff allowed us to go down into the rubble-strewn basement where Jews were held, interrogated and then sent for execution in the surrounding forests.

Click on this link to see a picture album of the Linhard family visit to Boryslaw in 2011.

In this clip my mother’s first cousin Bezalel Linhard describes the fate of some of the members of our family at the “slaughterhouse” memorial. This film was taken by his son Ilan on their separate tour in 2011.

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הסרט הזה צולם בנובמבר 2013 – דיברתי עם מספר אנשים יוצאי בוריסלב וד רוהוביץ

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I had a map of the town which I had marked with the main “relevant” sites to see and had that organized. You can see some of the maps here. The following are a series of short video clips taken during this day – some in English and others in Hebrew :

 

English

See clip of Linhard home where Confectionary was in basement

English

Outside the Linhard home and business

English

In the basement – location of the Linhard confectionary

Hebrew

Clip showing Zeev Henefeld in the basement of his family’s home

Hebrew

Clip with Bezalel Linhard talking outside his former family home

English

Outside main post office in Borislaw

Hebrew

Shmuel Wachtel explains the significance of the one Borislaw police stations

English

Clip following visit to Borislaw police station where we entered basement dungeons

Hebrew

Shmuel Wachtel shows the group his childhood school in Borislaw

Hebrew

Yossi Rand tells the story of a Jewish family Chameidis that survived the war by hiding in the roof of the local school

English

Clip showing ladder into ceiling of school’s roof where the Chameidis family hid themselves

English

General scene of Wolanka surburb of Borislaw

English

General scene of the center of Borislaw

English

View across the main center of Borislaw and the Tys’mienica river which now runs under the road

English

Clip of the Borislaw train station

English

Second clip of the Borislaw train station with possible location of building where Jews held

English

Searching for family homes in the Debra suburb of Borislaw

English

Working oil rigs in Borislaw

To view a number of photos from the day

 http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AcuW7Rw1cM2sO

Yossi Rand wrote a piece (in Hebrew) following our visit to the Borislav Train Station. He called it a “mystical experience and he entitled it “Avigdor sent a taxi” click here to read   the excellent piece in Hebrew.

Daniela Mavor sent me this picture of the original train station of Borislaw (dated 1918-1939) which would seem to confirm that the station was destroyed when the Russians occupied the town in 1939.  (source :

http://www.audiovis.nac.gov.pl/obraz/81730/4374aae5decd2ecffdf1714c19df77eb/ )

After a long and intensive day I decided to sit in front of my video camera and talk about the events of the day and how I felt instead of trying to type it all into my iPad.  See a separate 26 mins clip in English on YouTube in which I describe the day’s events.

Emotionally exhausted and a little physically tired I went to the pool in the hotel spa and enjoyed a swim and ” kind of massage” with the jets and large water fountain which really helped to unwind me from the intensive day.

 I am extremely pleased and feel honoured to have been part of this group of fellow “rooters”.  To have both shared their experiences and to have had my own personal dimensions – the combination has been extremely meaningful for me. There have been so many fascinating and emotional events since arriving here it is extremely hard to process it all and put it into words.

 It has been a very powerful and moving process and by recording as much as I can and being able to share it with others in the group and with my family – makes it feel very worthwhile and enriching. I hope my own children and grandchildren will benefit from these records.

I have always had a fascination about our family history and although it may sound cliche’d – I have always had a personal philosophy which says “if I know where I come from I will know where I am going”.

A few weeks later I came across this interesting article in the New York Times which talks about the “ancestory syndrome” and which made a lot of sense to me.  I added it to the blog – click here.

So again – visit this clip to hear about today and additional clips ( links above ) and photos of the places themselves.

Today is our last day in the area of Boryslav and tomorrow we will travel by way of Stryj to Lvov.  Will I be back ? Who knows. I did speak to my brother Phil on Skype and we agreed that there is much research and work to be done in researching the Waldman side of the family ( grandfather on mother’s side.)

You can also see a picture album from cousins Linhard ( Ilan , Avital , Gaya and Bezalel ) from a similar visit they did to Borislaw and the area in 2011

– click here

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