Remembering the Jews of Mostyska – The Jewish Standard

Posted By on April 7, 2022

Mostyska is a town that very few people had ever heard of before March.

Its a small, very old city in the far west of Ukraine; it often changed hands, sometimes Ukrainian, sometimes Polish, always picturesque, often unsafe.

Now, its one of the places Ukrainians go through as they flee the Russian invasion thats brutally killing them, and its a place where Israel has set up a field hospital called Shining

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When Shelly Winters of Morris Plains read a story about Shining Star, she knew exactly where it was. (See the

The Winters put up this stone to as a memorial for the murdered Jewsof Mostyska.

In 2011, she and her husband, Stephen Winters, took a 10-day trip to eastern Europe to see where their parents, all of them Holocaust survivors, had come from. They traveled with a Ukrainian guide, who interpreted for them.

Ms. Winters mother, Bertha Singer Reich, who died last year, during the pandemic, was born in Mostyka. We visited the town, we spoke to some townspeople, we visited the place where the cemetery had been, and then we went to the mayors office and got permission to put up the monument, Ms. Winters said. And then they left.

The Ukrainians she and her husband met in Mostyka told the Winters that a Jewish cemetery once had stood on land that now lay fallow. The towns Jews had been rounded up, brought there, shot there, and bundled into a mass grave there, they were told.

To add to the horror, the countryside was beautiful, she said. If there hadnt been the war, we probably would still be living there. It was very green, very peaceful. You could understand how the Jews had lived there, with their extended families, for generations.

In 2011, Shelly Winters, far left, and her husband, Stephen Winters, flank two Ukrainians they met in Mostyska.

Instead, almost all the towns Jews were murdered, and the lucky ones were chased away. One remained I think he was the only Jew who came back to the town, Ms. Winters said and toward the end of her life, before Alzheimers silenced her, Ms. Reich talked to him by phone.

During their visit, Shelly and Stephen Winters decided to commission a monument that would stand at the cemetery, a memorial to the towns Jews.

It was erected a few months after the Winters visit. Ms. Winters feared that it might be vandalized, but she learned that a fence had been put up around it to safeguard it; that was the work of the towns sole surviving Jew, she surmises.

The Israelis who staffed Shining Star had heard about the monument too, she said; the story she read about it told her that the towns mayor took the Israeli medical staff to the monument, and they said kaddish there, she reported.

And then the Israelis went back to their Muslim and Christian colleagues and continued to save lives.

See the rest here:

Remembering the Jews of Mostyska - The Jewish Standard

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