Ykp Pyc Eng De Ro


A wide-ranging discussion about the focus of the museum concluded
that the exhibition should focus on the most vibrant period in the life of the Jewish community,
the period from 1774 to 1941,
when Bukovina was first part of the Habsburg Monarchy and later the Kingdom of Romania.

    The permanent exhibition is housed in a small area about 53 meters square in two rooms on the ground floor of Chernivtsi’s former Jewish National House.  Despite the limitations on space, there is much material presented in “circles.”   
    - The upper circle is devoted to architecture; photographs of Jewish religious and communal buildings in Bukovina are on display;
    - The middle circle is devoted to zodiac signs, representing the Jewish religious year;
   - The lower circle is devoted to factual information - it consists of twelve display boards, on which the life of the Jewish community is described chronologically from the end of the eighteenth to the middle of the twentieth century.
    All these circles together symbolise the ongoing transformation of the Jewish energies.  From the end of the eighteenth and to the beginning of the nineteenth century these were predominantly religious, in the second half of the nineteenth century they focused on education and culture and finally turned to political activity at the beginning of the twentieth century.
    A significant part of the exhibits comprises original books, documents, postcards and objects of daily life and religious tradition.
    General information and official documents concerning the Bukovinian Jews during the Austrian era are presented in the first exhibition room.

The main focus is on tradition, religious life and customs of Judaism. The materials shown here are dedicated to the activity of the two greatest Bukovinian Hassidic dynasties - the Vizhnits Tzadik Mendel Hager and the Rizhiner wunderrebbe (wonder rabbi) Isroel Fridman from Sadigura.
Furthermore, the exhibition includes a "Shabbat corner" - a part of the interior of a traditional Jewish home, with the table where the family celebrates the beginning of the Shabbat.
There is also an interesting presentation of traditional Jewish art, in particular, reproductions of unique oil paintings from the still functioning synagogue "Beit-Tfilah Benjamin" in Chernivtsi, and tombstones (matsevas) from old Bukovinian cemeteries.

The exhibition of the big hall provides information on the Jewish cultural and political movements from the end of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century, as well as on the daily life of the Jews, their professions, interests and cultural life. Materials on the development and activity of the Chernivtsi Jewish community play a significant role here. Here different aspects of the life of the Jews in the town are shown and photos of exceptional personalities within the community are exhibited.
In the life of the Bukovinian Jews the beginning of the 20th century is marked as the time when they entered the political arena and as the time of the creation of political unions and parties and the fight between different movements within political life.
This was primarily reflected in the variety of party periodicals which are shown in the exhibition.
A special focus is on materials that are dedicated to the activity of the cultural unions that acted against German and later Romanian assimilation and acculturation. There is detailed information on the first world conference on the Yiddish language, that took place in Chernivtsi in 1908.
During the time between the two world wars, culture played a significant role in the life of the Bukovinian Jews. Without theatres and books, the Bukovinian Jews could not be imagined. Bukovina gave the world a number of scientists, writers and poets, artists and musicians of Jewish origin. Information on a number of prominent Bukovinian Jewish writers who created masterpieces of literature in the German and Yiddish languages are presented: Karl Emil Franzos, Elieser Steinbarg, Itzig Manger, Paul Celan, Rosa Auslaender and others, as well as on talented artists who worked in the spheres of easel paintings, plastic art and graphics: Arthur Kolnik, Bernard Feder,Moshe Krinitz and Isiu Sherf.
The only still unfinished display board is to be used for documents and photos from the time of the Soviet occupation and annexation of Bukovina (1940-1941).
The catastrophe of World War II did not pass by Bukovina. Archive documents, photos and testimonies of survivors of these tragic events complete the exhibition on the history of Bukovinian Jewry.

In the display cases of the exhibition halls a number of objects of the museum's collection are presented. They complete brightly and vividly the narrative on the religious and everyday life of the Bukovinian Jews. Authentic objects of daily life help to imagine the atmosphere of the past and to fill it with real meaning.

Video about the creation of the museum's exhibition (45 Mb)
(photos by J.Zissels, N.Shevchenko, G.Kharaz, A.Voloch were used).

Music: "Hey, brothers, why are you sleeping?" (written by Sh.Karlibach, performed by M.Itkina)

Project "Jewish Chernivtsi. Unforgotten Image".
© 2010 - Galina Kharaz. Website concept, design, selection of materials.