“Magic happens when you don’t give up, even though you want to. The universe always falls in love with a stubborn heart.” JmStorm
To be here, in what used to be Bessarabia, is already incredible. But to see what I see and to be able to listen to the stories at the place of its happening is even more unbelievable. When we see images taken by wonderful photographers from these far away places mentioned in our family stories and therefore we wish to visit one day, we only perceive through our senses what they wish to show us and tell us through their lenses and points of view. But even though they try to show us with their close up shots these amazing images the best they can to evoke in us strong emotions, I must tell you that nothing compares to doing the trip yourself and see the reality you are looking for with your own eyes. This is something that nobody can do for you. The emotion you feel when you capture these moments in your mind through your visual and auditory senses to hold on and absorb your own old stories inside your mind is more than fascinating.
I only needed this short introduction for you to understand what I am living, exploring and experiencing at this moment. But for a start, let me tell you that day 2 and day 3 have past very fast. I am conscious that I should have written this post before but I must confess that I was really tired. I guess you understand. All the impressions I lived, tasted, explored and understood were more than a lot. But I am more than happy to have done them for sure. So what I have done, besides having occupied myself with meeting incredible and interesting people which will contribute and collaborate in order to help the LivingStones Associations finalized its planning, is visited the ORT school in Chisinau and three cemeteries: the ones in Chisinau, Orhei, and Vadul Rascov. Let me tell you that I am not only impressed by its beautiful and unique individual style, but also by the beauty of the places they are situated, their desolate state, and the sad stories that happened in most of them. For example, the cemetery in Chisinau has witness the brutal acts of murdering the Jews of this city in 1941 and this trace can be seen until today outside the main entrance to the Ohel.
“Did you see those holes?”, Irina asked me.
“Yes, I did”, I answered.
“Those are bullet holes. The Jews of Kishinev were brought down here in 1941 and executed right in front of this door. The soldiers were trained to shot them from the chest up, straight to the heart.”
I saw these holes along the side of the frame of its main entrance door before she mentioned it and the ones perforated in its beautiful metal door, but I assumed that they were part of the desolate condition of this building. Let me tell you, that these holes or small indentations are the only traces that are left to be seen and remembered today, because there is not even a memory plaque that mention this cruel historical fact. I was so lucky to have visited this cemetery accompanied by my friend Irina Shihova, a Jewish historian, who waited until I started to keep on walking through the cemetery to make me aware of this extremely sad story.
But I also visited the most astonishing cemetery that I have ever seen in my life and this is the one located in Vadul Rascov. Not only this picturesque town is more than worth to pay a visit, but for me, this cemetery symbolizes not only the beginning of my discovery in revealing what happened to my family members who remained here in Bessarabia but also, it marks the beginning of LivingStones Association. So since the first time I saw its photo I fall in love with this incredible place and I knew then that I would like to visit it one day (even though I have no emotional connection or members buried there). This picture was posted in the website where Simon Geissbühler published his book called Blutiger Juli, the one that tells what happened to the Jews of Northern Bessarabia in July 1941, a book worth to read it by the way. Since he rediscovered this place many photographers like Christian Herrmann have visited it to witness not only its beauty and its out of this world location but also to feel its peaceful energy.
Besides all of this, I have travelled through a soft landscape of fresh collected corn fields, black soil, and colorful towns and have tasted the excellent Moldovan wine with its culinary delicacies like Mamaliga with Brinza cheese, Varenikes, and the most exquisite chicken soup.