Alex Ryvchin

A haunting homecoming

Three decades after leaving Kiev as a child, Alex Ryvchin returned to the town last month to mark the 75th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre, in which 33,771 Jews were killed.

THERE is something about long-haul travel conducted in solitude that infuses the mind with a strange kind of focus. As I returned to Kiev for the first time, having left that place as a boy of three, and now a man of 33, my mind returned again and again in abstract and discordant ways to family.

Over the years, whenever my thoughts have turned to Kiev, I could visualise nothing more than a grey blur, like a ragged woollen jumper. The only image that retains any clarity is one my mind has created – my family, the family with which I left Kiev, forever preserved in our ages at the time of our departure, standing stoically in our winter clothes.

Read the full article by Alex Ryvchin at The Australian Jewish News.