On Thursday 13 Iyyar 5760, 18 May 2000, we visited Rozdol. "We" in this case means Betty Lee Hahn (my new-found third cousin), Ephraim Pickholz and I, together with our guide and translator Alex Dunai of Lviv.
We drove through town (the streets were all paved - at least the ones we saw) and went directly to the synagogue, which is quite near the cemetery. The synagogue was locked, but we told that there is nothing inside to attest to its original use. (This is the synagogue completed in 1927, not the old wooden one that appears in the Encyclopedia Judaica and which burned down in 1907.)
We walked down the hill to the large fenced cemetery, which consists
of two hills with a small ravine in between. Despite the
clear weather all week, the ravine was abit muddy. The gate was open and a horse was being led out of the cemetery as we
entered. We saw "signs" of the horse inside the grounds, including on one tombstone.
There are quite a few tombstones, but the vast majority are broken, face down, partially buried and otherwise illegible. But many can be read, at least partially. I did not see a single stone with either a surname or any Latin lettering.
I took forty-six photographs in the cemetery and they will be posted on the Rozdol web site after I get them scanned.
We also saw the place where the Jews were killed, which is just outside the cemetery fence. (Please remember that the murder of the Jews of Rozdol is one of the less well-documented of the Holocaust.)
We drove back into town and spoke with a few older citizens on the street, asking if they knew this person or that, with no noteworthy results.
We paid a visit on the mayor, a woman born after the Holocaust, who
received us graciously in her office despite our being
unannounced and uninvited. Her name is Maria Mikolayevna and she knew very little about the period before and during the War, although she certainly knew the period in general terms.
Maria phoned an elderly history teacher who lives nearby and asked him
to come to speak to us. The teacher - Roman
Gorbacevski - is seventy-eight and told several stories, both about the Nazi commander and about some of the victims. I shall not attempt to recreate them here.
We also learned that according to local lore, one local man took cemetery stones in order to build a basement.. He died suddenly the next day and since then no one touched the stones in the cemetery.
Our particular interest was Pickholz and he knew that there were several Pickholz families, including Avraham, who owned a bank. (His granddaughter lives in Tel-Aviv today and we are in touch with her.)
I asked him if he knew Shemuel Case, who was killed with his wife (a Pickholz) and family and he told us that we were at that moment sitting in Shemuel Case's house. Town Hall. (Both Shemuel Case and his wife have family in Israel and this information has been passed on. Maybe someone can get the town to put a plaque or something.)
I suppose that isn't much of a report, but it reflects the morning we spent in Rozdol.