City Walk: "Past, Presence and Memory – Rediscovering Jewish Lviv"

On August, 5, 2016, three city walks took place in Lviv. They were designed within the workshop "Lemberg/Lwów/לעמבערג/Львів: Literary and Artistic Paths of a Multicultural City". The workshop was part of the summer school "Jewish History, Common Past and Heritage: Culture, Cities, Milieus".

Before the Second World War, Lviv used to be an important center of Jewish cultural, religious, and political life. Writers, poets, scholars, and satirists lived and worked in the city and built up creative environments. On the basis of their creative legacy, we can use our imagination to go back in time and experience a complex multicultural reality of the prewar Lviv. While preparing the city walk, the students studied places of interaction and cultural exchange, tragic pages of Jewish community, and considered different ways to commemorate Jewish heritage in Lviv. They chose certain axis for the city walk, the Sloneczna street (presently, P. Kulisha) that used to be one of the centers of Jewish cultural life in the interwar period, and part of the Nazi ghetto during the war.

The walk set out at the monument to Lviv ghetto as a symbol of tragedy that had changed the Jewish face of Lviv for good. Getting back to the past, the participants of the walk went along the streets of the former Jewish district, the places of personal memories and family stories, of religious practices, of cultural leisure and interaction, and analyzed biographies of Jewish writers, artists and intellectuals of the interwar period. An important focus of the city walk was on memory and oblivion of Jewish history in the present day Lviv. In particular, the participants had a discussion about opportunities and challenges in preservation of Jewish heritage for the future generations of Lviv citizens. It took place next to the building of the former Jewish museum (vul. Sholom-Aleykhema, 12) that was the final point of the city walk.

The effort resulted in a theme-based collection of postcards distributed to attendants as keepsakes, and a virtual history map of the city walk.

Collection of postcards about Jewish Lviv Collection of postcards about Jewish Lviv

The city walk was developed by the participants of the summer school "Jewish History, Common Past and Heritage: Culture, Cities, Milieus": Agnieszka Witkowska-Krych (Poland), Agnieszka Kajczyk (Poland), Elina Katz (Ukraine), Viktoria Lykova (Ukraine), Yuliana Mikolutskaya (Belarus), Oleksandr Pylypenko (Ukraine-Poland).

The city walk took place within the educational project "Jewish Days in the City Hall: Communities, Milieus and States in the 20th c. Contested Cities ".

"Jewish Days" is a public program for broad audiences. It is related to two other projects of the Center for Urban History: the summer school on Jewish History and the Multicultural Past run since 2010, and the initiative "The Space of Synagogues: Jewish History, Common Heritage and Responsibility" (in partnership with the Lviv City Council, and the German Society for International Cooperation GIZ).

Other walks: