|Spark Lights the Friction 2014 ©sdeswaan|
|Night Watch 2014©sdeswaan|
|The Ticking Clock 2012 ©sdeswaan|
|Libya for Lunch 2012 ©sdeswaan|
|Firearm 2008 ©sdeswaan|
|On the News 2008 ©sdeswaan|
|On The News 2007 ©sdeswaan|
|My parents, Etka & Simon Neuman, circa 1938|
|1937 - 38|
|To Berlin 1994 ©Sylvia de Swaan|
|Buletin De Nastere - my Romanian birth certificate ©Sylvia de Swaan|
Night train, St. Petersburg to Moscow. Vast expanses of nothing out the window. Contemplating phtos of my grandparents, David and Fanny Strum were perhaps originally from Russia - though I'm not sure. I know that they spent the war years in Siberia.
|Illia conducts interview with Stefania Antoniuk Konstianyvna|
|what might she be remembering|
|Portrait of Stefania as a young beauty. The ornament on her blouse looks to be some kind of Soviet medal.|
|Pavlina, Velykyi Kuchuriv, UK ©Sylvia de Swaan|
|Nastya videotaping the interview ©Sylvia de Swaan|
|Burial Chapel, Jewish Cemtery, Chernivtsi, Ukraine|
|Martin Rohani, Bulgarian - 20 years old, SVIT Ukraine Summer Work Camp volunteer, Jewish Cemetery, Chernivtsi, Ukraine|
|Christian Herrmann, German, 51 years old|
Christian works for an NGO out of Germany that promotes mutual understanding among diverse ethnic youth groups. He’s also a volunteer facilitator for the Summer Work Camps, that bring in groups of young people to learn about Jewish culture while helping clear the vastly overgrown Jewish cemetery in Czernivtsi Ukraine.
When we met he told me, ““My father was part of the machinery that got you and your family deported to Transnistria.” Christian is the son of a former Nazi officer – my family are Holocaust survivors. He and I have been conversing online for over a year, exchanging life stories.
|Anna Miashivova. 33 years old, Ukraine|
I'm nineteen years old, and I'm French and German my father is German and my mother is French. I am bilingual and have dual citizenship. It was after a long personal reflection that I took the decision to come in Chernivtsi. First of all, I decided to come in order to clean the Jewish cemetery cause of my origins. As a German, I thought that I was absolutely necessary help the jewish community in Eastern Europe countries after what happened during the second world war. I also decided to come to Chernivtsi because Ukraine is a country which has been fascinating me for a very long time. I have the feeling to be "at home". When I arrived, I had the impression that I had already been there, even if I haven't. And I also decided to attend this work camp in Chernivtsi, because it's seemed me a beautiful occasion to create contacts with people from all around the world. Many of us are still regularly in contact through facebook and hoping to see each other again.
Taka tells me, "I am Kiyotaka Fukushima from Japan. I am 46 years old. I had worked for a trading company in Tokyo for 21 years. I lost my job in April this year.
I met one Israeli person in Tokyo in 1999. Until then, I did not have any knowledge of Israel and Jewish. I really learned Jewish history and culture and visited Jewish places including synagogues and cemeteries in European countries and US. Sometimes I attended services of Shabbat and high holidays. Then, I increased my interest in preservation of synagogues and cemeteries.
Especially, about cemetery, I had an experience in Stuttgart, Germany in 2005. In the combined cemetery of Christian and Jewish in Stuttgart, I waited for stopping rainfall under a big tree in the cemetery. While I was waiting, I saw beautiful flowers & maintained section in the left and dark & overgrown section in the right. The fence of the right section was locked. I compared the difference under the tree for half hour. Finally, I found the reason and felt sad. I realized under the tree the reason were that the descendants of the tombstones on the right were disappeared by persecutions and emigrations. So, I decided it was necessary to maintain Jewish cemeteries.
Amanda Geenen, Dutch, 19 years old
Amanda writes to me..."Eager to explore a part of Europe I had never visited before, I decided to spend my summer in Ukraine to look for whatever traces of Jewish life were left there. During a five-week backpacking trip around Israel in the summer of 2012 I had met many Israelis with roots in Eastern Europe. This workcamp enabled me to visit the shtetls from their stories while making a meaningful contribution to the preservation of Jewish heritage. My three weeks in Ukraine were both immensely inspirational and very confrontational. It was great to welcome visitors from all over the world to ''our'' cemetery. One day, our group managed to locate the grave of a woman's grandmother. The woman had moved to Israel decades ago and this was the first time she returned to Ukraine - I will never forget her gratitude and appreciation for our work. It saddened me, however, to see how Chernivtsi's Jewish community is now very small. As most members are quite old, I fear that their heritage is on the verge of disappearing. The Jewish cemetery, in the meantime, is being neglected by local authorities. I realize one workcamp is not enough: it will take an ongoing effort to keep the terrain from turning into a jungle.
|Aleksandr Kotik, 34 years old, Ukrainian|
|Jasmin Sohner, 28 years old, German|
|The Burial Chapel, Jewish Cemetery, Chernowitz, Ukraine 2013 ©Sylvia de Swaan|
|The War Game, Sczesczin, Poland 1994 ©Sylvia de Swaan|
|The War Game #2, Chernivtsi, Ukraine 2013 ©Sylvia de Swaan|
|Burial Chapel, Jewish Cemetery, Czernowitz/Chernivtsi ©Sylvia de Swaan|
|"The English Patient" based on both book & film ©Sylvia de Swaan|