Wildlife, Legends and History make Sarny a Memorable Destination
Sarny is a relatively small city in the Rivne Oblast of Ukraine. It is also one of three major railway junctions in the Rivne oblast, with the other two being Rivne and Zdolbuniv. At present there are approximately 30,000 people living in the city and it has a history of turbulence and violence connected to it. It has seen wars and disaster come and go, but has survived to share its story with the world.
The city of Sarny was established in the year 1885 and its name derives from the wild goats named Serna that roamed this area freely and in great numbers. It is located in a forest area that is known for its swamps, and due to having an abundant water supply the landscape is green and breathtaking. Sarny witnessed the devastation of the nearby Chernobyl disaster, and in a hundred years of existence it has been occupied many times. The Russian Empire laid claim to Sarny in the year 1795, but Poland took control of the city by 1921. In 1939 the Soviet Union reclaimed the city but as the war drew closer, the German Forces had occupied Sarny by 1941. By the year 1944, the Soviet Union had once again taken over the city, but it was permanently assigned to Ukraine in 1991.
Sarny has a concrete and metal factory, but both are no longer in use so the residents are reliant on agricultural products, such as vegetables, to provide an income. Those that cannot afford a small piece of land, rely on the forest for fruits, berries and mushrooms, which they pick and sell. Some residents are fortunate enough to own their own food and clothing stores, while the state also owns some retail outlets in the city.
Between the dates 27 to 28 August 1942, a staggering amount of fourteen thousand Jews, lost their lives in Sarny. Many stories have been told about these disturbing times, and some of them are in the pages of the book ‘When God Looked the Other Way: An Odyssey of War, Exile and Redemption’. It is written by Wesley Adamczyk, in which he recalls his personal account of what he and his family had to endure. At the time of the war, Adamczyk and his family were living in Sarny. Another reminder of the war is the SU-76i Tank which is at the Lenin Prospect Memorial in the city. It was on its way to Sarny as a part of the 143rd Rifle division. It fell through broken ice and together with its crew it lay in its icy grave until 1972. After its discovery, it was renovated and put on display as a memorial to those who fought and to those who died during the war.
To discover the complete beauty of the Sarny and Rivne Region, visitors are recommended to spend the day at the Rivnensky Nature Reserve. It was founded in 1999 and is a testament to the natural splendor of this area, the exquisite Ukrainian wildlife, birds and plant life that dominates this region. It is a magical experience that almost eliminates all the visions and pain from the past.