In memory of the victims of the Holocaust, a menorah looms above the mass graves. The menorah, a symbol of enlightenment, is carved on the face of a stone cube. At the foot of the cube, a Star of David is embedded in the ground. All of the paths at the site converge here.
Construction of the memorial site at Prokhid was well underway in October 2014. The four Holocaust mass graves located here will be protected by large prism-like forms. They rise gradually with the slope of the forest floor to a height of approximately one meter. The concept was developed by the architect Taras Savka.
The architects Dmitry Zhuikov and Arina Agieieva created the design for this site, which covers 2,000 square meters. The design integrates triangles that represent splinters and thus refer to the destruction of Kovel’s Jewish community. The contrast between the hard concrete and soft forest floor stands for the abrupt end of Jewish life in Kovel.
In May 2014, construction in Rava-Ruska was largely complete. The historical marker and the memorial stone were the only elements left to be installed.
A number of smashed gravestones, presumably from both the new and old Jewish cemeteries, were found near the memorial construction site in Rava-Ruska. Some of these stones were used to build a wall of remembrance.
Covered by stone and framed by wooden posts, the mass grave and shooting site near Kysylyn is located in an open field. The posts were put up to prevent agricultural machinery from crossing the site. Prior to protection, the site was used as cropland. The memorial was designed by Arina Agieieva and Dmitry Zhuikov.
In December 2013, the mass graves and former cemetery were covered with a protective layer of crushed granite. The concept for this site, which covers 3,800 square meters, was developed by Volodymyr Motyka. Precise identification of the contours of the mass graves was no longer possible due to erosion and plundering.
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.
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.
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.