A PILGRIMAGE TRIP TO UKRAINE BY THE PERVIN TREE, "THE LOST SHTETLS IN PODOLIA"@

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BAGRINOVTSY

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Latitude (DMS): 49 17' 60 N
Longitude (DMS): 27 55' 60 E

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Bagrinovtsy, the birthplace of Leib and Samuel Pervin, and their children is quietly hidden in the land of cows and swallows in Podolia.  The village is somewhat remote, 16 kilometers from the state highway M12.  On the way to the village, an old road branches off from Litin, and it is here that Heidi and Norimi encountered a herd of cows having taken over  the entire road. 

Above, the blue sky had transformed quickly to a rain cloud - dramatically painted  in dark gray ink like the brush of Turner.  There was a flock of swallows fling in arrow formation across the fields.  It was the day  after a summer storm.

Heidi and Norimi stood at the eastern entrance of the village where puddles of water filled in the damaged pavement. Congratulated by hugging each otherfs shoulders as they have found a sign, gBagrinovtsyh in Russian framed by overgrown weeds.  Norimi was overwhelmed when he gazed at the road, lined with towering green trees. This was possibly the road the Pervin household used to travel to Zaluzhnoe. A long white wall made of mud along the road is the only remains of century-old architecture.  The entrance of Bagrinovtsy of today looks exactly as it may have looked in bygone days when more than three thousand Ashkenazi Jews inhabited the village. Today, there are none. 
 1) Village Sign
 2) Eastern Entrance
 3) Glossary Store
 4) Convenient Store
 5) Bus Stop
 6) Memorial Park
 7) Memorial Park
 8) Cemetery
 9) Public Facilities
10) Hardware Store
11) South Exit
12) Road to North Exit
13) North Field

BAGRINOVTSY

14) North Exit
15) North Field
16) West Field
17) Road to North Exit
18) Abandoned House
19) Peasant House
20) West Field
21) Peasant House
22) Well
23) Peasant House
24) Well
25) Road to South Exit
26) House of Clematis

Driving slowly through the row of the trees, one comes upon two additional main roads, which meet at the center of the village to form a three-way intersection.  One road leads to the south and the other to the north.  A bus shelter stands empty at the corner.  A Christian cemetery is located across the road from the bus shelter road and a long lasting white fence surrounding a memorial park lies at the left corner of the intersection. Vlad, behind the wheel of the car, exits the car to investigate the village.  The targets of query were the location of the Jewish cemetery and the site of the mass executions.  No one knew the existence of either.

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The three travelers decided to pay a visit at the grocery store they found near by to replenish their stock of lunchmeats, bread, cheeses and bottles of yogurt drinks and juices. They continued on their journey by cruising westward on the main road.  The road was quiet even though it was early afternoon.  A few pedestrians, mostly middle-aged women, passed the conspicuous Honda; they gave no notice to the strangers inside.

After driving for about five minutes or so, they arrived at the western exit of the village where a wooden bridge crossed over a narrow river. There was, however, another village on the other side of the bridge – a perfect place for a U-turn. Vlad found the office of the state administration on the way back to the three-ways intersection; it is located in the center of the village.  Most of the pedestrians seen passing earlier re-appeared at this the office.  They are most likely picking up their monthly stipend or pensions.

Vlad went inside facilities to secure interviews with the officials while Heidi and Norimi waited in the car and watched the passers-by.  Vlad told the two to come inside to visit with one of the officials.  Unfortunately,  the state official could offer only limited information about the village.  He introduced himself as a director for the village and yet appeared to be a reluctant informant for the strange tourists.  Norimi was told of the two thousand people who currently inhabited the village. The official was unable to tell the group anything about the villagefs ethnic composite or the ages, occupations or gender of the residents. There was, however, a wall-size detailed map of the village.  The three visitors were allowed to take some photographs of the map.  Among the facilities within the state office were the registrar, pension office and the sheriffsf department. 

Heidi, Norimi and Vlad continued their tour heading northward.  Driving the car as slowly as possible, Norimi took many photographs and video shots.  His subjects included a horse-drawn wagon filled with hay with a little boy at the reins; military trucks and construction vehicles, which passed through the village.  It was apparent that the village stood between roads that led to major towns and cities. 

Bagrinovtsy is an oasis, a little quiet village in the vast Podolia plain.  It took only ten minutes for the three visitors from the Pervin tree to arrive at the north exit of the village.  There they saw a never-ending view of meadows spread to the horizon. The road lined with tall birch trees continued ahead to Litinka, the next village via the state highway M12.  The three enjoyed a picnic lunch, as they over looked the vast rich land, attractive to so many foreign invaders. Heidi and Norimi agreed with the invadersf obsessions and cravings for its possession.  The breeze carried a fragrance of honey, the sweet breath of the meadow.  They felt that in that moment they had touched a small fragment of heaven.  The wooden fences bordering the sugar beets field were made of natural tree branches woven uniquely.

Norimi could not help sensing a mysterious veil shielding the village from its past.  The villagers smiled and greeted the strangers in the car.  And yet they kept their distance from any unnecessary acquaintance with the outsiders.  One farmer came by to offer posing for a photograph with his wife.  Norimi agreed.  But his wife who shied away from the strangers rejected the farmerfs offer.  Other than a few old buildings, most of the houses appeared relatively new according to Vlad, possibly built after the revolution.  The few ancient mud houses stood devastated behind brushes and old big oak trees. Norimi regretted only that he could not talk to the old oak trees.  He did enjoy the deep blue clematis vines blossoming in the farmersf gardens. 

Heidi and Vlad enjoyed spending some time at a public well for an ice-cold drink of water.  The wells were well kept in the village.  Each well was decorated uniquely. 

There were 3 visits to Bagrinovtsy. And each time they encountered a large herd of cows cruising through the village.  On the last of the 3 visits, the travelers gave a sheriff a ride to Litin who usually commuted, daily, to Bagrinovtsy from Litin by foot. 

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