Europe 2012 – Day 13 – Kopinovtsi

Things went a little wrong today. And a lot right. I wrote the previous post in the morning waiting for my ride. Over two hours, I waited for my guide, blogged, fought with downloading am image emailed to me, and bought some water down the street. Finally I walked back to Hesed Shpira where I learned my guide had car trouble. Someone else helped instead, but he didn’t know any English. We first got a SIM card for my phone, then had to walk to another location to activate Internet. At least now I’m connected.

Next, we took a bus across town to the archive, and he left, I think because someone there allegedly knew English. But she said, in English, that she could speak but not understand. I know exactly what she meant. Suddenly everyone was asked if they knew English and lots of people tried to help. Someone was called who knew some English. I was walked into an office and my phone rang. Then I was spoken to in English again and they suggested returning on Monday. And it sounded like they might let me see the records I want. I’ll bring a translator then and find out.

That phone call was the director of Hesed Shpira sending his son to pick me up for a ride to Kopinovtsi. How did he know I was about done?

After passing through a few villages on a road made out of potholes, we left the paved road. There wasn’t even a sign at the village border like all the others had. And then we found the house with help from the locals. They knew that Jews had lived there, as if they had been the only Jews in the village. Were they? I didn’t think about that to ask at the time. A couple of phone calls verified it was my Rosenthals. They spoke to people who knew the family. I learned that after the war, Hershie returned and sold the house, eventually moving to America. They verified his three kids by name and knew that he had married his cousin (first cousin, once removed, actually). I even met someone who knew Hershie.

I hope I took enough pictures. Not thinking, I didn’t take any with my Androids to post them now. Which means I didn’t mark it by GPS either. Why would I forget to do that when I was doing so well this trip? I guess I got caught up in the moment. In Polish towns, I was looking for the towns generally, or addresses for a client. In Ukraine, I was looking for the house where my grandfather was born and raised.

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