The mass graves of Holocaust victims near the village of Manivtsi (Krasyliv Territorial Community) need constant care in the warm season, and ongoing repairs, from time to time.
Reconstruction and opening of renovated mass graves
In two inhuman actions, in July and September of 1942 (the second one took place on the eve of Rosh Hashanah), about 5,000 men and women, the elderly and the children were murdered by Nazis and their collaborators only because of being Jews. Only few prisoners from the Krasyliv and Kulchyny ghettos got miraculously survived.
Location of Jewish mass graves near the village of Manivtsi:
After the war was finished, simple metal monuments were erected at all three huge graves which had been the sites of the cruel inhuman shootings.
In the 1960s, new monuments and fences were erected on all those graves.
50 years later, the monuments began crumbling, the foundation under them cracked in some places, and the fences also were partly destroyed. Trees and bushes grew up abundantly on the grave, which is located in the forest. It’s occurred that the monuments on all mass graves were needed the major repairs, more exactly – the full renovation.
In 2013, there began the collecting funds for the reconstruction of all monuments on these mass graves. An initiative group was set up, which included caring people from different countries (Ukraine, the USA, Israel, etc.). Several financial gatherings were held, attended by dozens of people from different countries. Almost all money was raised through foreign donors with Krasilov and Kulchyny roots.
In April 2015, the construction work began on the first mass grave in the forest.
The complete reconstruction of the two monuments near the village of Manivtsi was completed in May 2016, and the reconstruction of the third monument, on the Mass grave in the field, was completed in November 2016.
On May 24, 2018, in the village of Manivtsi of the Krasyliv district, there took place the opening of the renovated Holocaust Memorial, which was erected at the sites of the execution of prisoners of the Krasyliv and Kulchyny ghettos in 1942.
Thanks to this titanic joint work, we restored and honored the memory of the thousands of Jews which were murdered in the Krasyliv region. And we should continue to preserve their memory and pass it on to future generations.
The Mass graves need our constant care
Since these Mass graves are located in the forest and in the field, i, e. they are in the outdoors natural conditions, they are constantly influenced by various elemental factors (wind, humidity, sharp temperature changes, “invasion of the vegetation”, etc.). Thе impact of all those factors is negative and destructive. The first large grave is severely affected with vegetation because it’s closely surrounded with the forest.
The grave usually get highly overgrown in the summer months. The vegetation on the first grave grows so abundantly that it is difficult to see and recognize the mass grave among tall grass and the bush. This phenomenon is very depressing and sad. The memory of people which were murdered and buried here long ago has again been literally and figuratively killed, because their grave is overgrown with abundant weeds, which in some places are taller than an adult’s height.
Photos of the overgrown graves
I do not post all the corresponding photos here, because I wouldn’t like to injure your psyche, and mine – either. But, under the published photo, you will be able to discover links to more photos, which show pictures of the abandoned graves in previous years.
In fact, the graves were formally cared for and cleaned for a year by local schoolchildren and adults from nearby village but it’s not enough (no claims against them, they did what they could). The graves get very quickly overgrown with thick weeds and various other vegetation, and after that they come into such awful condition, as you see on the picture above.
То those who want to follow the link below (on the Flickr service) to view other photos I explain: if the photo is called for example 1_1, the first digit means that the photo refers to the first mass grave (in the forest). If 2_1, then we are talking about the second grave near the forest. And if 3_1, then it is a grave in the field.
The second grave near the forest. Here are all pictures for 03-07-2017
The first grave, in the forest. Here are all pictures for 11-09-2020
What should we do?
Because in summer the graves get overgrown very quickly, they need to be cared 2-3 times a month (especially after rains). The forest where the first grave is located has its own microclimate. The grave is in a low ground, which is surrounded by tall trees. This creates conditions like in greenhouses. Humidity, heat, and the absence of wind contribute to the vigorous growth of plants that use any crack to let the stem immediately appear. Humidity and winter frosts can destroy the curbs and decorative plaster of the monument itself.
Communicating closely with some members of our community, I’ve suggested that we should clean the monuments regularly throughout 7 months, from April to October inclusive. Isaac Tentser supported my idea.
Beginning in September 2020 and throughout 2021, Isaac Tentser funded grave care through cleaning. I hired a local man who agreed to do the necessary job for a modest fee. I have made certain that he was an honest and responsible worker. It is a pleasure to visit these holy places at any time and see everything in good condition there. Then, our thoughts are not focused on struggle with weeds, but on memories and reflections. There is no place for irrigation and bad thoughts. It should always be so. I am planning to continue cooperating with him in this matter, but funds are needed for this.
Photos of the cleaned grave
It is a pleasure to visit these holy places at any time and see everything in good condition. Then your thoughts are not focused on weeds and inner indignation, but on memories, reflections and stories. It should always be so.
The first grave, in the forest. Here are all pictures for 14-09-2020
The first grave, in the forest. Here are all pictures for 11-05-2021
The first grave, in the forest. Here are all pictures for 04-07-2021
What is included in the care of graves?
The care includes the following:
- General cleaning after winter (beginning with April);
- Spring treatment of the territory with herbicides (weed control);
- Weed control, at least 2 times a month, – cleaning the area from branches, leaves and plants;
- General cleaning before winter (October).
The care does not include minor repairs and other work, which is usually performed by construction specialists. Such work, for example, may include adding the sand or the ground into the hollows which have been formed under the slabs, also plastering and painting monuments, painting curbs, and more of the sort. These works should do for separate costs which should be discussed separately.
I believe that we should continue to take care of the mass graves. But one person (Isaac Tentser) cannot constantly bear the burden of all costs. Therefore, I appeal to all members of our community and all concerned people to join this noble cause.
You need to raise about $ 750 to be able to pay for the job and the expenses of the worker for the next 7 months. This amount will be gradually used over 2022. The amount may not be collected all at once. The main thing is that I should be able to pay on time every month for the work done (cleaning).
How to join the fundraising?
All these methods are safe and reliable. They are available from anywhere on the planet.
PayPal allows you to quickly transfer any amount in US dollars.
And Patreon is a service that allows you to raise funds in the form of a monthly subscription. For example, a person cannot or does not want to send a large amount at once, but he is ready to support regularly with small amounts. The service will deduct this amount from your bank card every month. I indicated small amounts (in the form of three levels) so that they do not significantly affect the family budget. Choose the one you like.
I see Patreon not only as a fundraising service, but as a platform for communicating with people for whom I can be interesting and useful.
Funds will be deducted from your bank card each month (on the 1st of the month). You can unsubscribe at any time to stop debiting funds. Everything is voluntary and transparent.
Having chosen level 1 or 2, your funds will be used to clean the mass graves in the village of Manivtsi. By choosing the 3rd level, you have the opportunity not only to support the cleaning, but also the author of the project.
At Patreon, you can simply subscribe to follow the news (without deducting money from the card). I will also be glad to readers.
I invite you to become part of my team and join this important and noble cause. Thank you for your interest in the project and for your support!
My English is very imperfect. I use a dictionary and Google translate. Therefore, there are errors in the text. But, I am working to significantly improve my level. I will keep my patrons informed about the progress in learning English.
Looking ahead. Let’s create a Charitable Foundation?
Isaac Tentser has proposed to create a Charitable Foundation outside Ukraine, which will take care of mass graves in Manivtsi. This will allow to accept charitable funds without any problems, officially and transparently. This idea is noteworthy, especially since time is constantly moving forward, and our people are not eternal. Personally, I wholeheartedly support this idea and I am ready to get involved in the work to the best of my ability.
This organization will be able to perform the important issues:
• Receive funds from donors-philanthropists from around the world.
• Cooperate with other Foundations and charitable organizations.
• Provide information support to the project.
• Maintain the territory of mass graves in good condition.
• Perform needed current repairs.
• Check the use of funds.
• Report to philanthropists about performed work and invested funds.
Perhaps our Foundation will grow into something more significant, and we will be able to support other charitable programs related to monuments and graves of Holocaust victims around the world, as well as support programs aimed at improving human life (educational programs, humanitarian aid to people who became victims of a humanitarian crisis or epidemic).
There are no limits to good people who are willing to help others. There are only those boundaries that we set ourselves.
In the community Jewish Krasilov, I initiated a discussion on the organizational issues of establishing such Foundation and raising funds to ensure regular cleaning of graves this year.
And caring people from Ukraine can join the fundraising today using such services as Дяка, Монобанк and PayPal. There will be regular reports. Together we are strong!
Read the report on the funds and how they were used on the Patreon page. Also, you can become my patron.