Paths off the Rightous
1. Rynok Square. Neptune fountain
2. Shevska Str.,16. “Solid” factory
3. teatralna Str., 6. Hersh Lauterpacht
4. Svobody Av. 15. Goldstein’s collection
5. Hnatyuka Str. 18. Louis Bruno Sohn
6. Ivan Franko Park
7. St.George cathedral
8. Ozarkevicha str. 2. Studites’ monastery
9. New World, 15. Goldstein’s museum
10. Chuprynky Str. 45. Rudolf Weigl
This route is dedicated to people who, despite the circumstances, showed their best qualities and became the ray of light which gave hope that even in complete darkness there is a place for light.
In this route we will also mention lawyers who lived and studied in Lviv, whose activities after a series of human tragedies happened in the XX century focused on the matter of human rights and the right of every people for protection and dignified life.
1.Our journey starts from Rynok Square, the Neptune Fountain, created in the early nineteenth century by sculptor Hartmann Witwer. The water source where the fountain stands appeared in the late 17th century and was immediately called Neptune. Its water has been used since ancient times, and during World War II this fountain was also the source of life for people who due to tragic circumstances appeared on the verge of life and death.
We are talking about the Higers family. The family was quite wealthy before the war. They used to dwell on Copernicus street. When the war started the situation changed for worse, and with the arrival of the Nazis the Higers, like other Jews, had to move to the ghetto. The terrible conditions left no hope for survival and when the liquidation of the ghetto started, the Higers family decided to flee. They went down to the sewer under the barracks where they stayed.
This family was one of the few which had luck. Three Lviv residents – Leopold Sokha, Stefan Wrublewsky, Jezhy Kovalyuv took them under their care. Whenever possible they provided them with food or helped to find new shelters when it was dangerous to stay in the previous place. Each of them had their own reasons for coming to the rescue. First it was money, then charity helped the disadvantaged people to survive when money ran out. But not only the external aid, but also their own desire to see the end of the war, that helped. Irresistable desire to live. But what does it have to do with the fountain? – you may ask. This very fountain was a source of water. One of the inhabitants of the dungeon used to creep underground along the narrow path with a can in his teeth to get there to collect some water from the pipes through which it was flowing. The fountain provided water all year round, the residents of the city also used it, so the leaky pipes became the source of life. After World War II Leopold Socha and Jezhy Wrublewskiy were recognized as the Righteous Among the Nations but the story did not end there. After the war Stefan Wrublewsky was arrested by the Soviet authorities, and only the testimony of the Higers and other Jews who escaped in the sewers helped him to escape.
2. Our next stop is “Solid” factory on Shevska Street,16. In this building the factory has been operating during the Nazi occupation where Jews and their families were rescued.
This factory was a part of the extensive rescue system organized by the Greek Catholic Church led by Metropolit Andrei Sheptytsky and his brother Clement. The enterprise was run by Johann Peters, an ethnic German and a Greek-Catholic monk. He had already lived in Lviv by the beginning of World War II. Being interested in the Eastern Church he had come here and then made monastic vows. With the advent of Soviet rule in 1939 Peters left Lviv for a short time and then returned in 1941 with Aryan documents to help the Greek Catholic Church and as it turned out not only the Church.There were Jews among the workers of the factory. The work document gave them a chance for life. Peters was arrested in 1942 for printing anti-German leaflets at the printing house where he was also managing. “Solid” was closed but the Greek Catholic Church was able to return the company by giving a bribe to a German official.
The enterprise has become a place of salvation for Jews since that time, where160 people have been saved. Peters’ fate was not easy. He has been imprisoned at the Dachau concentration camp for several years. After the war he was accused of collaboration with the Nazis. All charges eventually were dropped and Johann Peters was recognized as the Righteous Among the Nations.
3. We are heading now to Teatralna Street, 6.
Sir Gersh Lauterpacht was born in Zhovkva in 1897. When the boy turned 13 the family moved to Lviv to give their son proper education. So he first studied in one of Lviv gymnasiums and later on at Lviv university, the Faculty of Law. When the World War I ended the Versailles Peace Committee sent a commission to Lviv to resolve issues between the Ukrainian and Polish communities. Lauterpacht took part in its work as a translator. In 1919 he left Lviv to complete his education in Vienna where he received a degree. He worked as a lecturer at London School of Economics, and since 1937 – as Professor of International Law at University of Cambridge. Since 1954 he was a member of International Court of Justice. In addition to teaching he wrote extensively on legal topics, published in leading journals of the time, participated in the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950. He coined the term “crime against humanity” and worked on the concept of human rights.
4. The fourth address of our journey is 15 Svobody (Liberty) Avenue. It is in the Museum of Ethnography and Crafts where the collection of Maximilian Goldstein, miraculously saved during the Second World War, is preserved. The unique collection gathered by this talented man was kept in his private apartment.
He was one of the initiators of the Jewish Museum in Lviv and its last director. When the nationalized collection was attached to the Museum of Arts and Crafts, he worked as a senior researcher. This collection was divided between several Lviv museums after the war. Goldstein’s personal collection remained in his apartment, Novyy Svit (New World) street, 15. We will approach the house where it was exhibited. The director of the Industrial Museum, and later also the commissioner of museum affairs, Ilarion Sventsitsky, tried in every way to save the Goldstein family. Unfortunately they all died during the Holocaust. The collection of Judaica from the private museum of this collector, kept in the Museum of Ethnography and Crafts, is miraculously preserved. It is considered one of the most valuable in the world. Items from this collection can be seen only during temporary exhibitions and in catalogs published in previous years.
5. We are proceeding along Hnatiuka Street, where in house number 18 Louis Bruno Sohn dwelled. He was born in 1914. He graduated from Lviv University with a degree of a lawyer and a diplomat. After graduation he remained at the university to work. While working in Lviv Sohn learned five foreign languages fulfilling the tasks of a professor, his supervisor. Since his name was not mentioned in any publications, Sohn decided to send his own article to Joseph Bill, the professor of law at Harvard Law School. The professor was impressed by the young lawyer’s knowledge and invited him to work at Harvard. Sohn accepted this offer but when he has settled all the issues with the documents and arrived it turned out that the professor had retired. This did not prevent the young lawyer to find a job in a new place and in seven years to start teaching at Harvard. In a few years he became one of the most respected lawyers in the world. He is called the legal giant and architect of postwar international law. Besides Sohn’s activity in a number of important international projects and his participation in creation of the UN Charter, he insisted that the Declaration of Human Rights should be recognized by all states. On November 11, 2017, one of the three commemorative plaques honoring Lviv lawyers, creators of international law, was unveiled at the house where Louis Bruno Sohn lived.
6. And now you and I are going to the Ivan Franko Park, a park that has adorned our city for many years. This park remembers ordinary Lviv residents and famous people, historical events and everyday life. He is mentioned by Stanislav Lem and Sholom Aleichem, and the passage of time is very well described by Philip Sands in his book East-West Street. Perhaps it was through this park that David Kahane, Kurt Levin, or one of the few Jews who met the fate of World War II in the hell of World War II and were lucky enough to meet the Sheptytsky Brothers on their way went to St. George’s Cathedral. For these people, St. George’s Cathedral has become the place where the story of their salvation began, and you and I are now going to it.
7. For these people St. George’s Cathedral has become the place where the story of their salvation began, and we are going there now.
The majestic building of the Cathedral, towering over the city, attracts attention with its beautiful architecture. The long history of St. George’s Mountain hides important moments of history – both its religious pages and human relationships. Let us turn to the period of the XXth century, to the page that is seldom opened during daily excursions, and remember that it was here that the Ukrainian Metropolit Andrei Sheptytsky received and hid Jews. In this noble cause he was assisted by his brother Clement and the monks, who in the monasteries took care of those whose lives were under their responsibility.
Clement Sheptytsky was recognized as the Righteous Among the Nations, as well as the six Studite monks. Andriy Sheptytsky was not.
Kurt Levin, one of the survivors who wrote a memoir after the war “Journey through Illusions”, said in his letter to the president of Yad Vashem Catastrophe Museum in 2007: Survivors, including my brother Nathan Levin, the sons of Rabbi Hamaides – Professor Leon Hamaides and Professor Zvi Barnea, Professor Adam Daniel Rotfeld, Dr. Oded Amarant, Mrs. Lily Polman, the late Professor Podoshin all of them are making an incredible effort to recognize Metropolit Sheptytsky as Righteous. “Of course a large number of people could not be hidden in one place. Therefore the rescue network had to operate quickly, and what was most important – secretly.
Among many places in Lviv where Jews were hidden – temporarily or until the end of the Nazi occupation – was the Studite Monastery of the Holy Hieromartyr Josaphat at Ozarkevycha Street,2 (formerly Petro Skarhy).
8. Among many places in Lviv where Jews were hidden – temporarily or until the end of the Nazi occupation – was the Studite Monastery of the Holy Hieromartyr Josaphat at Ozarkevycha Street, 2 (formerly Petro Skarhy).
In David Kahane’s book of memoirs “Diary of the Lviv Ghetto” we read that the rabbi could no longer be hidden in the Metropolit’s library due to the danger of exposure. And then the rabbi in monk clothes with the help of Father Hrytsay was transferred to Petro Skarha Street, to the monastery where a cell was allocated for him.
But even this shelter was not safe when a new “action” started. Kahane had to go to a secret hiding place in the monastery. Here is how he describes it: “The situation in the city is very tense now. There are rumors about the approach of a terrible action. There is talk of the final liquidation of the camp and ghetto. “Aryan” residents are warned that hiding Jews is punishable by death. The Germans are searching houses, private and public, and even monasteries. We, monks, are not sure that they will not come to us. Therefore after consulting with the Metropolit we decided to arrange a safer storage for you in the attic. It was built by an experienced carpenter from Lychakiv Monastery. The Metropolit himself revealed our secret to him and asked to prepare a secret hiding place for you in the attic. The three of us helped him and no one but us knows about this shelter. And now it’s time for you to move there. “
But even that secret place did not provide sense of security, and when a search was made that almost exposed the hiding place, we had to seek refuge again, where we can hide the rabbi in the future”.
Eventually this, one of the few stories, ended happily and after the war it was Kahane who initiated giving Andrey Sheptytsky the title of Righteous.
9. Our next stop is at Novyy Svit Street, 15 where the outstanding art critic and collector Maximilian Goldstein lived. His collection is sometimes confused with the collection of the Museum of the Jewish Community of Lviv, because Goldstein was the director of this museum for a period of time. Those two collections were saved during World War II but the Goldstein family did not survive the Holocaust. At the beginning of his career as a collector Maximilian Goldstein was interested in numismatics and even was a full member of the Numismatic Society but eventually became interested in Jewish ethnography and art and in 1910 he initiated the creation of the Jewish Museum in Lviv, the first one in Galicia. The initiative was supported by the Jewish Community Council but the process was slow. Then Goldstein opened a private museum based on his collection in his private home in the early 1920s. Among the visitors of that museum were such prominent figures of Ukrainian culture as Ilarion Sventsitsky, Oleksa Novakivsky, Stanislav Hordynsky. It was Ilarion Sventsitsky who played an important role in preserving the collection, which is now in the Museum of Ethnography and Crafts of the Institute of Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
10. And the next address of our tour that will end this walk is Chuprynky Street, 45.
Rudolf Stefan Weigl – immunologist, biologist, prominent physician who invented an effective vaccine against typhus. The future inventor studied at the Faculty of Biology of Lviv University, and after graduation he remained to work there at the Department of Zoology. During the World War I he was mobilized to the Austrian army as a military doctor, and it was during the war that he faced the problem of typhus which had an extremely high mortality rate. As a military doctor Weigl saved not only soldiers but also prisoners of war and refugees from this terrible disease. After the war he continued his work as a scientist looking for ways to overcome the disease. After conducting a series of experiments Weigl focused on working with lice which contained the causative agent of typhus in high concentrations. An original method of infecting lice as well as feeding these insects to human donors was developed, and the inventor was one of the first such donors.
Later on during World War I the researches on the vaccine and the need in donors saved about 5,000 people including well-known scientists as well as many Jews (such as Ludwig Fleck )
At the current address of Chuprynka, 45, when Lviv together with most of Galicia became part of the USSR, the Sanitary and Bacteriological Institute was established in 1939 to which this building was allocated. When Lviv was occupied by the Nazis in 1941 the renamed institute continued at the address of Zelena Street,12.
After the end of World War II Weigl left for Poland and the institute was ruled by Henryk Mossing who had worked under Weigl for many years and was his assistant in many matters.
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