Thursday, March 02, 2006

Reader Response: The Condition Of The Great Choral Synagogue Of Drohobych, Ukraine II

..."I asked my friend and she made a couple of photos of Drohobych synagogue. These are fresh photographs, made a couple of days ago. As you can see, its condition leaves much to be desired.

It is not seen on the photo, but after several months of work the synagogue already has a metal roof. There also is a sort of a door which is locked.

I have one question and you might probably help me. You see, there are many buildings in my native Drohobych which after 50 years disclose pre-war inscriptions in Polish, Ukrainian, and sometimes German. These inscriptions are sometimes ruthlessly erased by the new owners of the houses. One of my friends regularly makes photos and tries to catch these "writings on the wall" before they disappear -- to have the record for the history of the town.

So, my friend made these photos on my request so that I could discern the inscription above the door of the synagogue. It is in Hebrew. I read a bit of Hebrew, but I only know the letters and can read the words only if the diacritics are present -- and they are usually absent in Hebrew texts.

As far as I understand, the text out there is like this:

כשנח י ...
השער לי

I am very interested in this synagogue, since it is a part of my town and its history. Please write if you could help me." ...


My response:

Thank you very much for your letter and images. Even though my maternal grandmother was Jewish and I believe read a little Hebrew as a child, I do not know any Hebrew. I am going to ask a San Francisco composer friend (and fellow blogger) Michael K. if he can help us. He has lived in Budapest, Hungary; and would like, he told me, soon to visit Western Ukraine -- Galicia and Bukovina. Perhaps you will meet him. His web-site is

I am trying to find a translation engine to decipher the Hebrew above. I also have contacts at the Library of Congress who I know can help.

I would like to borrow one of your friend's new pictures for this blog. Let me know if this a problem for you or for her. Thank you again for your letter and good luck with your important project. Please keep me informed.

The Great Choral Synagogue Of Drohobych, Ukraine, is currently undergoing slow stabilization and restoration. Photo taken for Nasxodax in late February 2006.

Photo credit: (c) nasxodax 2006. All rights reserved.


Drohobych, Ukraine was the home of the famous writer and artist Bruno Schulz who was murdered by the Nazis in 1942. This ancient city is located in Western Ukraine, south of Lviv, in the foothills of the Carpathian mountains. It experienced fast economic growth in the late 19th century, during the end of its Austro-Hungarian period, as a center of petroleum exploration and refining.

Please see the post and comment at:

Also please see Roman Zakharii's archival image of the deportation of Jews in Drohobych in 1941:

Web-based Hebrew Lesson link:


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