The guidebook Shtetl Routes. Travels Through the Forgotten Continent is one of the elements of the project titled “Shtetl Routes: Vestiges of Jewish Cultural Heritage in Cross-border Tourism.” In the guidebook, we tell the stories of sixty-two towns located in the borderland of Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine and the stories of the Jewish communities inhabiting these towns.
Our intention is to evoke the tales of Jewish culture, which used to be so important to the towns of the borderland, by referring to surviving objects of cultural heritage, such as synagogues, prayer houses, cemeteries, schools, cinemas, printing houses, factories and sometimes ordinary houses. This is why the book is full of quotations, references to memories, stories from literature and Yizkor (Memorial) Books.
We also show how these towns attempt to draw on their Jewish heritage today, in places where Jews still live and where there are no Jews anymore.
Feel invited to travel through the Forgotten Continent – to travel the shtetl routes of the borderland of Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus.
Shtetl Routes Through Poland
Sejny • Krynki • Knyszyn •Tykocin •Orla •Siemiatycze •Międzyrzec Podlaski • Włodawa •Kock •Kazimierz Dolny •Izbica • Wojsławice •Szczebrzeszyn •Biłgoraj •Józefów •Wielkie Oczy •Łańcut •Dukla •Rymanów •Lesko
Shtetl Routes Through Ukraine
Zhovkva •Belz • Busk • Rohatyn •Halych •Drohobych •Bolekhiv •Khust •Delatyn •Kosiv •Chortkiv •Buchach •Pidhaitsi •Brody •Kremenets •Dubno •Ostroh •Korets •Berezne •Kovel •Volodymyr-Volynskyi •Luboml
Shtetl Routes Through Belarus
Pinsk •Davyd-Haradok •Stolin •Motal • Kobryn •Pruzhany • Slonim •Ruzhany •Haradzishcha •Mir •Valozhyn •Ashmyany •Ivye •Navahrudak • Dzyatlava • Radun •Zhaludok •Astryna •Lunna •Indura
The book is available in English, Polish, Ukrainian and Russian versions.
Ośrodek „Brama Grodzka – Teatr NN” ul. Grodzka 21, 20-112 Lublin, Poland
Chief editor and project coordinator: Emil Majuk
Co-editors of English version: Ruth Ellen Gruber, Yohanan Petrovsky-Stern
Yohanan Petrovsky-Stern - In search of the Jewish Atlantis
This book, put together by a group of enthusiasts from Poland, Belarus and Ukraine, reconstructs the shtetl by presenting its historical development and geographical diversity. This book focuses on how the shtetl lived and transformed through the centuries, and discusses how the shtetl died, moribund and exhausted, modified by Soviet social engineering or wiped out by the Holocaust. Quite remarkably, this book also indicates what survived at the sites of the shtetls – that which still reminds us about the Jewish presence. These remnants consist of old and new monuments, ruins, cemeteries, reconstructed or rebuilt synagogues, all elements of Jewish communal infrastructure now transformed into an ordinary urban infrastructure with almost no traces of their previous function or belonging. This book is a reconstruction of the reality which is no longer present, but which left behind palpable traces of its presence. It is as limited as any reconstruction, but also seeks to serve as a guide. A short yet well-informed encyclopedic source one can use to delve deep into the history and culture of the shtetl.
A group of dedicated and energetic Polish scholars from the Lublin-based Brama Grodzka contributed significantly to the exploration of the ‘East European Atlantis’, by organizing field research seminars, summer schools and conferences about the shtetls, as well as conducting professionally guided tours to the various sites of former shtetls in Ukraine, Belarus and Poland.
During these tours in particular, hundreds of young professionals from Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Israel, Canada, Germany, Russia, Lithuania and the United States of America had a unique opportunity to learn about the shtetl within the shtetl. To study inscriptions on tombstones at the oldest Jewish cemeteries and to study the architecture of the early modern synagogues at the actual sites of these synagogues. They also explored various ways through which the shtetl created what is known today as Polish, Ukrainian or Belarusian urban infrastructure, that is, how Jews helped create modern East European towns.
This book incorporates the results of those projects in different ways, drawing heavily from the documentary evidence already amassed and field work of many of these groups, first and foremost being Brama Grodzka of Lublin. At the same time, this book occupies a unique place in the context of the revival of interest toward the shtetl, as it focuses on what the shtetl really was over the centuries. Of course, it also incorporates testimonies that depict how the shtetl was remembered or imagined.
This book shows the shtetl as a shared cultural legacy of the many peoples inhabiting East Europe, including Jews, Poles, Belarussians, Ukrainians, Germans, and Tatars. A unique contribution to the study of versatile forms of civilization, this book takes the reader on a journey through what can be called the ‘East European Jewish Atlantis’.