When we arrived in Ustechko most people were at the Greek Catholic Saint Paraskebiya Church, built in 1881.
The scenic town sits nestled along the Dniester River.
The two main roads run roughly parallel to the river. We explored them while waiting for the church service to end. There are numerous old homes from the Hapsburg era that might have been in the town when my Wenkert relatives were likely here.
After church let out we talked with some people who were able to confirm Svetlana's suspicions that Jewish homes were once near the church (the market center of town). Unfortunately, little remained. A small wooded area devoid of buildings was identified as an area that once had Jewish homes and businesses.
We were told that this house across the street had been sold in 1947 by a Jewish family. It is currently being renovated.
A few doors down, an uninhabited former Jewish home was for sale.
The Germans burned the synagogue to the ground during the War, but we saw its former location. The homeowner said that they had chosen not to build their home on the spot, but rather kept it for potato cultivation.
We sought the cemetery and were directed to an area on the far west side of the village overlooking the Dniester River. If there were any stones, they are under dense vegetation. We did not see any remnants. We were told that the cemetery was under the bushes on the right side of this photo.
My interest in Tovste (aka Tluste) was principally to see the cemetery and murder site. My family research has not turned up any Tovste residents, however, Torskie/Zaliszczyki relatives (Jutte Wenkert Barath, her husband Moshe and two children) were held in the Tovste ghetto. Jutte and Moshe were shot with many others on the cemetery grounds.
Unlike the other cemeteries I've seen thus far, the Tovste Cemetery has many stones in fairly good condition. There is also a memorial to those murdered here.
In honor of my cousin Sally Barath Eisner who escaped death in Tovste and in memory of her parents, Jutte and Moses, Katherine and I recited the mourner's kaddish.