Rohatyn shop signs, including the print shop of Chaim Szkolnik

Information Points Physical Project

Introduction

Rohatyn is large enough that new visitors need a map to see more than the main highways which cross through town, and maps of Rohatyn are somewhat scarce, even at town bookstores and kiosks. Past Jewish residents would have had a mental map of the streets and key sites in town, as current Ukrainian residents do, but what each group most focused on and remembered is different. As we discovered on our first visits to Rohatyn, many people living and working in Rohatyn today do not know how to find (or direct others to) the sites of Jewish heritage. And several of those sites have lost their original explanatory visual character and are today almost without information, though memorial monuments at four locations provide some much needed clues to at least the wartime events, for visitors who can find them.

This project aims to provide guidance to locals and visitors to find the key heritage sites, and once at the sites to learn about their history and significance.

The goals of the Information Points Physical Project are to:

  • create and install directional signs at key locations on the streets of Rohatyn, to guide residents and visitors to the major sites of Jewish heritage in town
  • create and install informational signs at each major Jewish heritage site, with multi-language text about the history of the site and with quick-response links to further information on this website
  • provide for maintenance of the physical signs against weathering and mistreatment

Overall project cost estimate: $TBD. Total funds allocated to date: $0.
Overall project timeline: TBD. Project progress: 0% complete.

No money has been raised for this work, and no program funds will be allocated until an initial project design has been created and the concept has been discussed and agreed with the City of Rohatyn.

Background

Geographically, Rohatyn is a medium-sized town; it spans an area of about 3km x 2km (2mi x 1.3mi), in an irregular shape which covers almost 4 square kilometers (1.5 square miles). Although Jewish religious buildings were concentrated near the city center, Jewish homes were spread all over town, including in the village of Babińce to the east of the town center, now incorporated as part of Rohatyn. The Jewish cemeteries were and are near the town limits; the killing grounds and Jewish mass graves of World War II are also near the edges of town.

It is possible to visit all of the major sites of Jewish heritage in Rohatyn on foot in a single day, but avoiding the noise and traffic of major roads is not easy, and is finding the sites is best accomplished with a paper map or mobile device in hand. We present a digital map here, but we believe it will also be important to guide residents and visitors who are already on the streets of Rohatyn, and who may not yet be aware of or have access to our website.

At several of the sites, text on memorial monuments briefly declares the tragedy of the destruction of the Rohatyn Jewish community in dates and numbers, but we want to help the sites also speak to the prior history of the community and its neighbors, and to explain the original purpose of those sites and the renewal of Jewish memory in town.

Project Concept

Development of reference materials and study aids on the Jewish history and heritage of Rohatyn addresses the key program objectives of memorial and education, and provides a base on which to build specific educational themes for use by teachers and students. When the first projects are created by local schools, those examples will serve to refine the materials and to suggest future resource and project development ideas.

The project includes these elements:

  • design, local fabrication, and installation of directional signs to be placed at key intersections on major roads entering Rohatyn, to coordinate with existing and planned visitor’s signs created by the City
  • design, local fabrication, and installation of informational signs to be placed at the major heritage sites, to describe the history of each site and explain its relationship to local Jewish history
  • links and QR codes to associate the signs with further information pages on this website, for visitors with web-enabled mobile devices
  • a maintenance plan for upkeep of the physical signs, in cooperation with the City of Rohatyn

There is no project plan or funding at this time. The project elements will be phased to permit cycles of refinement as resources of funding and skills become available. After ongoing headstone recovery and rehabilitation of the old Jewish cemetery, directional and information signs are a priority for the heritage program. All project elements will proceed with the continuing involvement of the Rohatyn city office.

Directional Signs

A Rohatyn cutural heritage sign at the south end of town

A Rohatyn cutural heritage sign at the south end of town. Photo © 2015 Liubov Yankiv-Vitkovska.

Initial concepts for directional signs include large graphical and text signs at key incoming road locations at the west (H09, from Lviv), north (T1417, from Peremyshlyany), east (E50, from Berezhany), and south (H09/E50, from Burshtyn, Khodoriv, and Ivano-Frankisk); the first priority is the western entrance from Lviv. A central sign for visitors stopping at the town square (Roxelana Plaza) is in consideration as well.

Heritage arrows in Niš, Serbia

Heritage arrows in Niš, Serbia. Photo © 2014 Jasna Ciric, via Jewish Heritage Europe.

The concept also includes simple heritage arrows with symbols and text to provide supplemental guidance in town to the destinations, especially those which are on minor roads.

For the directional signs, a simplified graphic map of Rohatyn should present the sign location (you are here) and the major Jewish heritage sites, ideally with icons, photographs or other visual clues to their significance, but also with multi-lingual text to briefly describe each of the sites. Positioning of the signs will consider how drivers arriving into town may be able to pause or stop out of the traffic flow to study the signs. A recent sign installation by the City of Rohatyn identifying key cultural sites in town is a good model for locating the Jewish heritage sites and for sign positioning, and there are other useful examples in nearby Lviv and all over Europe.

The signs should be made of durable materials and permanently installed at each location. Permission and advice of the Rohatyn city office will be requested during the planning phase, in order to learn from their experience, avoid interfering with traffic flow and safety zones, and identify local material suppliers and sign fabrication services.

Informational Signs

Jewish cemetery sign in Siret, Romania

Jewish cemetery sign in Siret, Romania. Photo © 2013 Julie Dawson, via Jewish Heritage Europe.

The concepts for physical signs providing information about several of the Jewish heritage sites in Rohatyn are described on the pages detailing those projects. The overall concept is to explain the past function of each site and its role in the past Jewish community, with a small number of images and documents; for the mass grave sites, this will likely focus on the lives of Rohatyn’s Jews before the war. Signs will be sized to permit text in three languages (Ukrainian, English, and Hebrew) but without obscuring views of the sites themselves.

Sample QR code, for the front page of this website

A sample QR code, for the front page of this website.

A simplified map of Rohatyn will show the specific site (you are here) and the relative location of other Jewish heritage sites in town. QR codes will link to specific pages on this website to provide additional information and to associate the site with the project and the larger heritage and education program.

Examples of similar signs are readily available to guide the concept into planning, not only in Ukraine but all over Europe. Completed Jewish heritage projects in other towns and countries can directly serve our research needs, but we must also attend to the specific needs of Rohatyn’s residents and visitors, as well as local climate extremes and other factors.

The signs should be made of durable materials and permanently installed at each location. Permission and advice of the Rohatyn city office will be requested during the planning phase, in order to learn from their experience, avoid interfering with traffic flow and safety zones, and identify local material suppliers and sign fabrication services.

Sign Maintenance

Once the design, fabrication, and installation work has been completed on this project, ongoing maintenance will be required to minimize the effects of weather and to counteract misuse and simple vandalism (tagging) common to signs and walls in any city. We will continue to support the City on that work.

Planning

No plans have been detailed for this project beyond the concept outline described here, no project costs have been estimated, and no funding has been raised or allocated to the project. Initial project planning will begin after other, higher-priority projects have commenced, although some work will be done early to coordinate the information signage at the several Jewish heritage sites in Rohatyn. An essential early step in the planning process will be to identify a reliable local project manager to arrange the work using regional resources and materials, and to coordinate with the City of Rohatyn on specific issues.

Current Status and Issues

Unlike the primary physical Jewish heritage projects in Rohatyn, this project is not in immediate or ongoing need of attention, so it is not a first-priority project for us. However, we and nearly every other visitor to Rohatyn interested in the Jewish heritage sites in town has had some difficulty finding them, and we have seen that even the town’s residents are largely unsure of the sites’ locations and significance. Initial concepts have been proposed, and planning and design effort will be applied to this project as soon as more of our time is available.