LOGO: Jews on the map of Ukraine
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Tamás Visi

2012-04-15

It is difficult to overestimate the importance of this project. After the tragedy of the Shoa the rich and complex heritage of Jewry in Ukraine has not been known, researched or publicly represented adequately on either side of the iron curtain: in the West, scholars and the general public was isolated from Ukraine and could not access much of the relevant information and sites, in the East the communist governments of the Soviet empire discouraged remembering the Jewish past of the region or endorsing Jewish traditions or identity in any of its possible forms. The decline and collapse of the communist regime in the late 1980s and early 1990s created the possibility to change the situation. However, after many decades of destruction, neglect, and oppression much is required to be done in order to put the Jews back on the map of Ukraine.

The project “Jews on the Map of Ukraine” undertakes this heroic task. Sites of Jewish interest are identified, visited, described and photographed. The record is augmented with interviews with people who preserve memories of the past which you will not find in any documentation. Information about important Jewish personalities are collected and added to the map. And the “map” is becoming increasingly more complex than a map in the usual sense: an encyclopedia of Jewish life in Ukraine is coming into being. This work connects the rich and often tragic past of Ukrainian Jews with the present and a hopefully brighter future. We hope that that the results will help the Jews of Ukraine to gain awareness of their own past as well as the non-Jewish society at large to realize and respect the importance and the value of the Jewish contribution to the heritage of their country.

Kurt and Ursula Schubert Centre for Jewish Studies Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic

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