Why Vienna, Austria?
After traveling through much of the Former East Bloc recently, the influence of Hapsburg Empire in that part of the world made me want to explore Vienna in depth, the former capital of the Hapsburg Empire.
It is now the winter of 2020. After the winter of 2019 when I visited Ukraine and Budapest, I decided I needed to continue my journey south in the Former East Bloc. I realized this would enable me to broaden my knowledge of the Former East Bloc and my understanding of the influence this part of the world has had on recent Jewish history.
During the winter of 2017 I visited the post-communist world of former East Germany and the Czech Republic. During the winter of 2018 I continued my travels through the same part of the world and experienced the post communist transition of Poland.
I have learned during my world travels that *tracing the history and movement of the Jews is helpful to learn about the history of Europe and beyond. Poland was a part of this continuing journey of discovery for me.
Why Budapest and Ukraine?
It is now the winter of 2019. A year after aborting my plans to continue my East European journey into Budapest from Poland, I have arrived in that culturally-rich city. After exploring Budapest focusing on its Jewish legacy and WWII history, I plan to visit various places in Ukraine, including Lviv, Kiev and Odessa, with a similar purpose in mind.
My desire to visit Kiev started in 1987 when I went on a tour of the USSR on a peace keeping mission with members of Servas (a non-profit international peace organization of hosts and travelers) from around the United States. We visited many parts of the Former Soviet Union, but had to miss Kiev because of the nuclear disaster that had recently happened in Chernobyl (April 26, 1986). I made a commitment to myself at that time that one day I would return to this part of the world and visit Kiev. Now is the time.
*Following are postings from former blogs I have written from various parts of the world about Jews and their history:
Berlin, Germany – www.zellnertravel2017.wordpress.com/2017/02/19/introducing-berlin
Venice & Padova, Italy – www.zellnertravel2016.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/the-jews-of-northern-italy-part-ii-venice-and-padova