«Jewish Observer»
April 2002
5762 Nisan

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Galitsiya Drogobych takes a special place on the map of Central and Eastern Europe. It is a frontier city, a crossroad of numerous ways and roads. During all its 900-year long history it was a real phenomenon. The Polish writer Maryan Hemar (a Polish Jew) justly once called it a "one and a half city": half-Ukrainian, half-Polish, and half-Jewish. All three nations gave the world many famous culture workers. Many big cities would be proud of such heritage.

The Jewish heritage of Drogobych is connected with such names as Bruno Shultz, artists Mauritsiy and Leopold Gotlibov, Sholom Aleichem. Jews have lived on the banks of Tysmenitsa and Pobuk since the XIV century. The local synagogue was built in 1865. It was one of the biggest in Galitsiya. Now, unfortunately, it is almost destroyed, and nobody is planning to renovate it.

Today Drogobych is turning into a gray province, though the process still can be stopped. The problem is not in the fact that the city, which was the oblast center until 1959, now turned out to be in the "shade" of the more powerful Lvov. The problem is in the indifference of local authorities and part of the population to the great past of their city, in their ignorance about its polyethnic culture.

Thanks God, there are people wishing to tell the entire world about the unique "one and a half" city. The Association "Uriy Drogobych" recently opened an Internet page, dedicated to the motherland of the Ukrainian Ivan Franko, Jew Shultz, and Pole Vezhynsky (the greatest Polish poet of the last century).

The site materials are detailed and objective. They reflect the three cultures, which formed the city life for many centuries.

As to the "Jewish half", the site has materials about Shultz (including information about the illegal removal of his famous works to Israel), and about Gotlibs. There is also information about the modern Jewish community, which numbers 300 people. The site also proposes an interesting photo gallery of the youngest 18-year old Drogobych photo artist and photo reporter Alexander Baran, who comes from a Jewish-Ukrainian family. In a word, everyone interested in the Galitsiya city, which has always taken a special place on the map of Central and Eastern Europe, are welcomed to the site: http://drohobych-ua.com


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