Results of the Special Nomination “Jewish Heritage” of the Wiki Loves Monuments competition

This year Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter (UJE) was a partner of the Special Nomination “Jewish Heritage.” Over 1,200 photographs were submitted, overwhelmingly surpassing the 330 photographs that were submitted in 2018. [1]. These photos depict more than 350 objects, of which 110 are not protected by the state. The photos portray Jewish heritage monuments from 25 regions of Ukraine. More than 60 photographers submitted their works to the Special Nomination.

The members of the Special Nomination Jury were: Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, professor of Jewish History at Northwestern University (Chicago, USA); Jurij Klufas, head of the BWV Toronto Ukrainian Festival, television and film producer (KONTAKT Ukrainian TV Network), and former president of the Entertainment Media Corporation (Toronto, Canada); and Yurii Siletsky, deputy director of the Lviv History Museum (Ukraine).

The jury’s work took place in two stages: first, the jury members received a portion of the photographs for the initial selection; they had to single out no more than 50 photographs that would enter the second round. During the second stage, the jury judged nearly 150 photographs according to a ten-point scale. The final result was 11 photographs and 8 photographers. These pictures do an excellent job of presenting the entire diversity of Jewish heritage monuments, including synagogues, cemeteries, and statues.

First place was awarded to Vadym Posternak’s photograph depicting fragments of matzevahs in a cemetery in Berezhany, Ternopil oblast. The picture was taken in May 2019. This site has no protected status. Commenting on this photograph, Yurii Siletsky said: “First of all, this is a high-quality and well-composed photograph; second, it perfectly depicts the state of preserving cultural heritage in Ukraine, and not just the state of the Jewish heritage.”

Fragments of matzevahs at a cemetery in Berezhany. Photographer: Vadym Posternak, Free License CC BY-SA 4.0

Five photographs won second place.

Synagogue, Sharhorod, Vinnytsia oblast. Photographer Serhii Ventseslavsky. Free License CC BY-SA 4.0

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern commented on Serhii Ventseslavsky’s photograph of a synagogue in Sharhorod, Vinnytsia oblast: “The photograph directs attention to the pitiful state of this unique sixteenth-century synagogue in Sharhorod; a beautiful angle, interesting details.”

Jewish Cemetery, Medzhybizh, Khmelnytsky oblast. Photographer: Ihor Zapadenko, Free License CCBY-SA 4.0

Ihor Zapadenko’s photograph shows a number of matzevahs in the Jewish Cemetery located in the urban-type settlement of Medzhybizh, Khmelnytsky oblast. The matzevahs were painted in the summer of 2019.

Synagogue (tailors’), Uman, Cherkasy oblast. Photographer: Serhii Aniskov, Free License CC BY-SA 4.0)

Serhii Aniskov’s photograph shows the Tailors’ Synagogue in Uman, Cherkasy oblast, during celebrations marking Rosh Hashanah in 2015. Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern noted that the presence of people in the photograph creates a positive effect, so much so that the “hideous, unattractive building comes to life!”

Statue of Sholem Aleichem, Rohnidynska Street. Photographer: Dmitri Semenovsky. Shaded—Atoly. Free License CC BY-SA 4.0

The jury gave high marks to Dmitri Semenovsky’s photograph of the Sholem Aleichem monument in Kyiv. As Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern noted, “Nice angle, a well-thought-out background, a very vivid and lively picture.”  Unfortunately, Ukraine is notable for its lack of Freedom of Panorama (FOP). Hence, the photograph is shaded.

Jewish Cemetery, Berezhany, Ternopil oblast; at right: Photographer: Renata Hanynets, Free License CC BY-SA 4.0

Renata Hanynets’s photograph of the Jewish Cemetery in Berezhany, Ternopil oblast, also won second place. Her photograph records the state of the monument as of May 2014. Although the resolution is not high, this does not diminish the value of the shot.

Five other photographs also won third place.

Choral Synagogue, Drohobych, Lviv oblast. Photographer: Renata Hanynets, Free License CC BY-SA 4.0

The Choral Synagogue in Drohobych, Lviv oblast, photographed by Renata Hanynets, shows the state of the building in May 2014. The photograph is not technically perfect, as it was taken with a cell phone. But one of the goals of this Special Nomination is documentation, not just beautiful angles.

Gravestone of Samuil Edels, Ostrih, Rivne oblast. Photographer: Vadym Posternak. Shaded—Atoly, Free License CC BY-SA 4.0

Vadym Posternak’s photograph depicts the gravestone of Samuil Edels in Ostrih, Rivne oblast. The object appears shaded because the original stone was not preserved; this is a contemporary, symbolic slab that was brought from Israel in 1990 and installed on the site of Edels’s possible final resting place. The photograph cannot be shown in its original state owing to the lack of Freedom of Panorama in Ukraine.

Synagogue, Husiatyn, Ternopil oblast. Photographer: Olha Basun, Free License CC BY-SA 4.0

Olha Basun took this photograph of a synagogue in Husiatyn, Ternopil oblast, in January 2019. She decided to emphasize that the building needs restoration. As Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern commented, the photo features a beautiful perspective, colors, and texture.

Jewish National House, Chernivtsi, Chernivtsi oblast. Photographer: Vadym Posternak, Free License CC BY-SA 4.0

Vadym Posternak’s photograph of the Jewish National House in Chernivtsi, taken in August 2015, won third place. This building has protected status as an architectural monument of local importance, which was built at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Sadhora synagogue, Chernivtsi, Chernivtsi oblast. Photographer: Taras Pits, Free License CC BY-SA 4.0

Taras Pits’s photograph of the Sadhora synagogue in Chernivtsi was taken in September 2019. The impressive residence of the “miracle-working rabbi” was built in the Moorish style.

The winners of the special nomination will receive prizes from UJE at an awards ceremony slated for 14 December in Kyiv [2].

We thank the members of the Special Jury Nomination for their volunteer work, as well as everyone who helped expand the list of buildings featured in the competition, correct inaccuracies, and disseminate information.



Translated from the Ukrainian by Marta Olynyk.