From immensity to nothingness.
Tombstones as far as the eye can see, the Jewish cemetery at Chernivsti appears out of the mist. Snow, like time, seems to have shrouded a small peace of eternity, reinforcing a profound impression of passing time. The Chapiro synagogue appears surreal, anachronistic. This is a slice of the past, of a bygone era, drained of its devotees, empty like the pathways of the cemetery, which is covered in immaculate, untouched snowfall. A silent witness to a past life, of unwritten stories that will remain unwritten. It is so difficult to imagine how a tomb represents a life. Seeing them like that, numerous and so divergent, it is easy to comprehend the richness and diversity of a forgotten Jewish culture.
As soon as these murals are revealed, they fade away, as if abandoned. It is as if the era when Chernivsti was vibrant and alive with Jewish culture has been erased, like a tombstone covered with ivy. Today, to comprehend this forgotten culture, one needs to walk through a labyrinth of tombs, or through the few remaining synagogues, which are often empty and lifeless.
Written by Maël / Maria / Nadège / Robin, students from the Institut National Universitaire Champollion.
(Translated from French by Callum Hamilton, YIU)