Day 5, Monday, May 14
Vinnitsa is our home for the next four days. In 1919, the little town became the first capital of independent People's Republic of Ukraine headed by nationalist socialist Symon Petliura whose troops murdered tens of thousands of Jews in genocidal pogroms of 1918-1920. The monument to him (see below) was placed last October in the center of Yerusalimka, the area of the city that used to be Jewish. The statue is located on the grounds of the house Petliura confiscated without compensation from the family of the Jewish industrialist Boruch L'vovich.
Vinnitsa is the political home-base of the Ukrainian President Poroshenko and his Jewish Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman who was had been elected twice mayor of Vinnitsa.
Upon return to our hotel, we rest and then go for a nice dinner
at one of the Vinnitsa's many parks to enjoy the evening.
After breakfast, we'll travel to Vakhnovka, a village not unlike thousands in Ukraine. There in January 1942 Germans and their Ukrainian collaborators had murdered more than 300 Jewish men, women, and children. We'll walk along their path to their final place in the forest. There, you will also hear the story about one Jew who, having knocked down the Ukrainian guard, was able to escape. After lunch, we'll continue to Stryzhevka, at the other end of Vinnitsa, to see what took place there and what happened to our Vakhnovka escapee. And finally, we finish our journey on Maksimovich Street, where more than 25,000 Jews
were murdered: all who were not able or didn't want to evacuate, more than half of all Jews of Vinnitsa, a quarter of city's entire population.
In May, Red Horse Chestnut trees, the official tree of Kiev, is in bloom. Absolutely magnificent!
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