A bustling Jewish village (shtetl) of about 5,000 people hidden in the forest. The photo above shows Trochenbrod’s post office. During the WWII, the nazis arrived and massacred all the people, wiping out the entire village. There were about 40 survivors, now scattered everywhere, some living in the United States.

The 2nd photo shows a kindergarten in Trochenbrod.

The 3rd photo shows Trochenbrod today. Nothing exists but fields and trees. 

Yes this is where trachimbrod, the fictitious shtetl where Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated was based. I believe this village was just one of the MANY villages wiped out during that time. Imagine more in Poland & Russia! 

The 4th photo is Betty Gold, one of the few survivors of  Trochenbrod, standing where her village used to be. She now resides in the USA. 

I want to visit the place someday. 

I have no self control
I’ll have to get there on my own

I will stand there next to you
So confident all through and through
There will be nothing left to do
But kick and scream til’ someone’s ruined

Why can’t you stand there with me?
Why can’t you be there with me?

So she had to satisfy herself with the idea of love- loving the loving of things whose existence she didn’t care at all about. Love itself became the object of her love. She loved herself in love, she loved loving love, as love loves loving, and was able, in that way, to reconcile herself with a world that fell so short of what she would have hoped for. It was not the world that was the great and saving life, but her willingness to make it beautiful and fair, to live a once-removed life, in a world once-removed from the one in which everyone else seemed to exist.
—  Everything Is Illuminated
Trachimbrod: ...Bury me with the truth, and i will die a happy man.

“ I have reflected many times upon our rigid search.

 it has shown me….

…that everything is illuminated in the light of the past.

It is always along the side of us…

…on the inside, looking out.

Like you say, inside out.

Jonfen, in this way i will always be along the side of your life.

And you will always be along the side of mine.

Our families will be with us,

and our families’ families.

Your Grandfather.

And perhaps, in some way,

my Grandfather as well.

It is possible i will never know why Grandfather did this to himself.

Perhaps he wished to bury his life, along the side of his past.

But  must tell you, Jonfen…

….in this moment, he seemed,

as if for the first time in his life…

…contented to be where he was.

Jonfen, i am sending you this..

…because we have shared something to exist for.

And, of course, in case anyone comes searching. ”

- Everything is Illuminated by Alexander Perchov.

Everyone has a past, that brings them to where they are…..

….everything is illuminated by the past.

….no present is exempt from the past.

One can not know his future, but one can become sure of his past.

The box read, " In case…..“

” …In case of what? “

” case someone should come searching one day. “

”…so they would have something to find?“

"No, it does not exist for you…..You exist for it. 

You have come because it exists. ”

“…..The ring is not here because of us, 

we are here because of the ring. ”

They buried him there with his life….

they buried his life there with their death.

and finally, he found peace; for in his past he left his life;

yet in the future he found it again.

…Bury me with the truth, and i will die a happy man.

You bury a man with his past, the truth dies in the grave.

All that is left after that are just stories and happenstance.

The truth never escapes the curtain;

just like man, it will come to an end.

….Bury me with the truth, and i will die a happy man.

Some nights, some places are a little brighter. It’s difficult to stare at New York City on Valentine’s Day, or Dublin on St. Patrick’s. The old walled city of Jerusalem lights up like a candle on each of Chanukah’s eight nights. Trachimday is the only time all year when the tiny village of Trachimbrod can be seen from space, when enough copulative voltage is generated to sex the Polish-Ukranian skies electric. We’re here, the glow of 1804 will say in one and a half centuries. We’re here and we’re alive.
—  Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated
This was the world in which she grew and he aged. They made for themselves a sanctuary from Trachimbrod, a habitat completely unlike the rest of the world. No hateful words were ever spoken, and no hands raised. More than that, no angry words were ever spoken, and nothing was denied. But more than that, no unloving words were ever spoken, and everything was held up as another small piece of proof that it can be this way, it doesn’t have to be that way; if there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it heavy walls, and we will furnish it with soft red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweler’s felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn’t exist, and I have tried everything that does.
—  Jonathan Safran Foer - Everything Is Illuminated