Remembering Together, Though Apart

The memorial monuments with remembrance stones on the commemoration date this year. Photo © 2020 Vasyl Yuzyshyn.

Due to the worldwide pandemic, Jay and I were unable this year to physically stand beside the memorial at the “vodokanal” Jewish mass grave site in Rohatyn to recite a prayer of remembrance for the more than 3,000 Jewish victims of the final liquidation of Rohatyn’s wartime Jewish ghetto on the anniversary. Instead, sheltering in place in northern California, we lit a candle to the victims’ memory and I read aloud El Malei Rachamim (אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים, “God, full of mercy”), a prayer for the souls of the departed martyrs.

We were not alone in this remembrance.

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In memory of the dead, candles lit this year in North America, South America, and Europe. Images courtesy Rohatyn descendants and friends.

Joining us in spirit, in nearly a dozen different countries around the world, either on the date or on the Hebrew calendar yahrtzeit date a week and a half earlier, were families with Rohatyn roots and other dear friends lighting candles and reciting names, demonstrating how global the Rohatyn descendants and friends community is:

Atlanta, GA, USA; Berkeley, CA, USA; Berlin, Germany; Bern, Switzerland; Boston, MA, USA; Boulder, CO, USA; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Chicago, IL USA; Córdoba, Argentina; Coronado, CA, USA; Dublin, CA, USA; Dunwoody, GA, USA; Elkins Park, PA, USA; Hadera, Israel; Haifa, Israel; Heber City, UT, USA; Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine; Jerusalem, Israel; Johannesburg, South Africa; Kraków, Poland; Lehi, UT, USA; London, England; Long Island, NY USA; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lviv, Ukraine; Mesquite, NV, USA; Monterey, CA, USA; Montreal, Canada; Newport Beach, CA, USA; Nowa Huta, Poland; Oakland, CA, USA; Oxford, England; Paris, France; Petach Tikva, Israel; Rheinburg, Germany; Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada; Rohatyn, Ukraine; San Francisco, CA, USA; Silver Spring, MD, USA; Social Circle, GA, USA; South Thomaston Maine, USA; Takoma Park, MD, USA; Tel Aviv, Israel; Toronto, Canada; Westlake Village, CA, USA.

In addition, Vasyl Yuzyshyn, our dear friend back in Lviv and a core member of the Rohatyn Jewish Heritage team, traveled to Rohatyn on June 6 and laid a stone on the memorial at the vodokanal execution site.

Together, though apart, we remembered, as many around the world do every year.