About the Rohatyn Jewish Heritage Program

Ця сторінка також доступна українською.

Background

On the road north of Rohatyn

On the road north of Rohatyn. Photo © 2015 Alex Denysenko.

Rohatyn Jewish Heritage is a volunteer-led program of heritage preservation and education, working to re-connect the history of Rohatyn’s now-lost Jewish community with the people and places of the modern town. With the cooperation of current Rohatyn residents and volunteers from around the world, today the program focuses primarily on recovery of Jewish headstone fragments discovered in town and their return to the old Jewish cemetery. Future plans include a cleanup and rehabilitation of the old cemetery, a modest memorial space for recovered headstone fragments, and the development of educational materials to support a renewed appreciation of the intertwined communities which once lived in Rohatyn.

Rohatyn Jewish Heritage is registered as a nonprofit non-governmental organization (NGO) in Ukraine (громадська організація in Ukrainian), under identification number 41047464. The NGO is registered in Lviv but has scope in Rohatyn and the surrounding region, in Ukraine and in Europe.

We thank all the people of Rohatyn and the world who have helped during the past years. This website will be used to expand the program description and educational resources; please visit again. And in the meantime, you can find us on Facebook.

Who We Are

Marla Raucher Osborn – Marla received her Juris Doctor from Hastings College of Law at the University of California, San Francisco, following a BA in Political Science from UCLA with concentration on Eastern European Governments and Political History. She has worked as a transactional lawyer in California, and for 2015~2016 was a staff member working on Jewish heritage projects at FODŻ (the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland), in Warsaw. An avid family historian since her early teens, Marla is one of the first active members of the RSRG and has served on the boards of directors of Gesher Galicia and Remembrance and Reconciliation, has written for many genealogy and heritage publications, and has lectured at schools, meetings, and conferences in the US, Israel, and Europe – including in Rohatyn. She made her first visit to Rohatyn in 2008, and in 2011 lived in nearby Lviv, Ukraine for five months to better engage with the region and with Rohatyn. Marla’s beloved paternal grandmother Chaje (Annie) was born in Rohatyn to an extensive Jewish family there; Annie and her parents emigrated to the US just before the start of World War I. Marla serves as president of the NGO Rohatyn Jewish Heritage. Email Marla.

Jay Osborn – Jay earned a BS with highest honors in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Irvine and has worked for 30 years as a computer design engineer; he is named on 20 US and GB patents for Sun Microsystems and Apple, and has worked in California, Europe, and Asia. Currently he is responsible for historical map research and assembly for the Gesher Galicia digital Map Room; the first map he assembled (in 2011) was the 1846 cadastral sketch of Rohatyn, for the RSRG. Although he has no family roots in Rohatyn, Jay is an engaged proponent of the ongoing heritage program; he has accompanied his wife Marla on almost all of her trips to the town, and serves behind the scenes as program manager for planning, documentation, logistics, and technical problem-solving. Jay serves as head of the supervisory board of the NGO Rohatyn Jewish Heritage. Email Jay.

Wito Nadaszkiewicz – Wito is Executive Director and managing partner of LawCraft Legal Services and Consulting in Lviv. Educated at Lviv Polytechnic National University and at the University of Warsaw, he earned a Masters and a PhD from the University of Warsaw. Focused on international business programs, Wito specializes in civil, commercial, and tax law, plus systems management and business process optimization. He has supported production, trade and service sector enterprises in Ukraine and Poland, often as a head of department and corporate director. He is the author of more than a dozen scientific works and over a hundred journalistic articles and books, and is fluent in Ukrainian, Polish, Russian and English. He also volunteers his personal time for a number of civil society initiatives, including serving on the board of the Lviv Volunteer center. Wito created and registered our NGO in Ukraine, and continues to serve as an NGO board member and as in-house legal and financial counsel, providing guidance on a wide variety of organization issues and opportunities for Rohatyn Jewish Heritage. Email Wito.

About Our Logo

The logo of our NGO

The logo of our NGO,
Rohatyn Jewish Heritage.

The inspiration for our NGO logo, shown in the image at left here, comes from four sources.

One source is the name of the city of Rohatyn, and its coat of arms: the Roh in Rohatyn relates to Rih, the Ukrainian word for horn; in Ukrainian, horns and antlers are are the same word. The City of Rohatyn has taken a deer antler as its official emblem.

Another source is the name of Marla’s Rohatyn ancestors; their family name was Horn, and Marla’s grandmother was born in Rohatyn as Chaje Horn, later called Annie Horn. The word horn has the same meaning in German (the language of the Austrian Empire, which ruled Rohatyn when Annie was born) as it does in English.

Sources for the design of our logo

Sources for the design of our logo. Left to right, the coat of arms of the City of Rohatyn; Marla’s Rohatyn-born grandmother Annie Horn; the headstone fragment unearthed in 2016, now returned to the old Jewish cemetery in town; and the Magen David, a common symbol of the Jewish people.

A third important source is a Jewish headstone fragment unearthed from a street in Rohatyn in 2016 and returned to the old Jewish cemetery. The stone displays symbolic carving including a pair of Lions of David, a floral decoration, and for the first time in our headstone recovery project, a rearing deer. The carved deer is incomplete on the broken fragment, but we have adapted its design as a key part of our logo. To learn more about the symbols carved into Jewish headstones in Rohatyn, see our article on the art and meaning of recovered Rohatyn matzevot.

The final significant design element in our logo is of course the Magen David (also called Star of David, or Shield of David), the six-pointed star which serves as a widely-recognized symbol of the Jewish people around the world. This star has been used as a decorative and/or symbolic element in many cultures for more than a millennium, but today is most closely associated with Jews and Jewish culture. For us it helps to identify the heritage we work with, as a component of pre-war multi-cultural Rohatyn.