This is how the unfinished pavilion looked at the memorial site in Rava-Ruska in October 2013. Completion of the structure and the path connecting it with the former cemetery, followed in spring 2014.
Workers from Kysylyn assisted in the construction of the memorial and proved to be extremely knowledgeable and attentive colleagues. Together with scholars Joe Shik and Maurice Herszaft, workers prepare to brace wooden posts to mark the contours of the mass grave. The religious scholars supervised the work so that the dead were not disturbed.
In an interview with journalist Halyna Tereshchuk, Maurice Herszaft said: “When we arrived here, there were bones everywhere. It was very painful to see that, because according to Jewish law, the souls of the dead cannot rest until the body is left to rest in peace.” The entire Ukrainian-language article can be read here.
Tykhon Yosypovych Leshchuk is interviewed about his memories of Rava-Ruska during the Second World War. His father, a priest, hid a Jewish girl during the war. Leschchuk is a professor of linguistics at Lviv Polytechnic National University.
Once fencing of the mass graves and former cemetery began in September 2013, it became possible to stop the continued slide of the topsoil downhill. The extensive damage already caused made it difficult to identify the exact contours of the mass graves at this location.
At some point in the late 1980s or early 1990s, survivors put up this Star of David in memory of their murdered family members and friends. It is still standing and has been integrated into the memorial for the murdered Jews of Rava-Ruska.
Kovel Mayor Pavlo Viktorovych Bezeka, local project coordinator Serhii Shvardovsky, translator Svetlana Sheremeta, and contractor Volodymyr Motyka discuss the transformation of the killing site into a memorial.
To determine the precise location of the mass grave at this location, geophysical analysis and eyewitness interviews were used. During soil analysis, non-invasive methods in compliance with Halachic law were employed in order to ensure the dead were not disturbed.
The mild winter in 2011 allowed non-invasive scanning to measure the mass grave in Rava-Ruska. This method made it possible to identify of the grave’s contours without opening it. In this way, Halacha, which stipulates that the dead may not be disturbed, was observed.
Maurice Herszaft of the Committee for the Protection of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe inspected the site of the mass shooting at the former Jewish cemetery in Ostrozhets. Herszaft supervised construction to ensure compliance with Halachic regulations.