02 November 2009

Gesher Galicia: Lviv Photo Project

For many researchers around the world, traveling back to the homes of our ancestors may an impossible dream.

Wouldn't it be great to see the house our great-great-grandparents lived in? Or, to bring it forward to more contemporary times, perhaps the house you or your parents lived in?

Thanks to volunteers around the world, it is becoming possible. Now it is a reality for some whose families came from Lviv/Lvov/Lemberg (was Galicia, now Ukraine), thanks to Gesher Galicia's "Lviv House and Street Photography Project." See it here.

When a Dutch-born teacher, now working in Germany, volunteered to do work during his summer in Lviv, the project took off. For four weeks in July, Dick Koops covered the city in search of the streets, lanes and pathways our ancestors once walked, enabling many Gesher Galicia members to have photos of the places where they or their ancestors once lived.

When Koops sent the photographs to Pam, he wrote:

I very much hope that my work in Lviv, will be meaningful for the Jewish grand-grandchildren of those who were victims of the Nazi-regime and those who supported it or allowed it to exist. We cannot change history; at least to learn from it is already very difficult.
Many street names have changed during the past 70 years. Thanks to the Henri Nouwen Foundation, one worker researched the street names, and the brother of the Foundation's local head, Petrov Kokor, served as Koops' guide and translator. Read more at the link above.

When you click on the site link, photos are listed in alphabetical order according to street name and number. In some cases, there are interior/courtyard and street views and more than one house is included.

Feel free to download the photos for personal use only as Koops holds the copyrights to these images. Email him to obtain permission for another purpose.

Visitors to the site are invited to add comments about the house (the age of the building, the identity of residents and when they lived there) by emailing (see below) the details to Pam Weisberger. Viewers may also add comments on Flickr via the provided link.

Eventually, says Pam, the details will be in a searchable database. Gesher Galicia also plans to create an interactive Lviv map, overlaying old maps onto contemporary ones, with photo links and resident details.

Many readers actually lived in these buildings before and after the war, and those personal stories are very important to the project; make sure to contact Pam if you have stories to share.

For more information about Gesher Galicia, click here. Email Pamela Weisberger if you have additional information for a photo or personal story. Credit where credit is due: Special thanks to Brooke Schreier Ganz for formatting the photos for the Internet.


  1. This seems to duplicate a lot of material and information include in the excellent and extensive L'viv interactive map initiate last year by the L've Center for Urban History of East Central Europe.
    See the link http://www.lvivcenter.org/en/lia/map/

    Any idea if they are cooperating?

  2. Hi, Ruth,

    Thanks for the link.

    Why don't you write to Pam? Her email is in the post above. I'm sure she will be able to give you more information.

    Best wishes