The creation of the museum
During the twentieth century, there were several
attempts to create a museum on the history of the Bukovinian Jews. The
first one dates back to the end of 1920s, when Bukovina was a part of
the Kingdom of Romania. Except for one document in the archive of the
Chernivtsi oblast, no other signs of the proposed museum were found.
The second effort was made in the end of 1990s by the Jewish Steinbarg
Society. This resulted in an exhibition of collected objects, but owing
to lack of funding and research staff, the museum was not further
Notwithstanding the fact
that a significant part of the Bukovinian Jews emigrated in the 1990s,
the idea of a Jewish museum remained alive. As a result of the
initiative of the Chernivtsi Jewish Socio-Cultural Fund and its
chairman Joseph Zissels, work on the proposed museum was taken
up again in 2007. Finally, the museum was opened with a solemn ceremony
in 2008, the same year that two significant jubilees that were
celebrated in Chernivtsi: the 600th anniversary of the first written
record of the city and the centenarary of the historical conference on
the Yiddish language held in Chernivtsi.
Regional ethnographer Nataliya Shevchenko, who was the first director of the museum, developed its concept. Artist Roman Batig from Lviv was responsible for the museum’s design.
Aim and Task of the Museum
The museum aims to acquaint the general public with the life, the history and the culture of the Bukovinian Jews.
The task of the museum
is to preserve the history of the Bukovinian Jews, to describe its main
periods through 1941 and to recreate the atmosphere and the spirit of
Present importance of the museum
Both Jews and non-Jews are interested in the creation of the museum.
The museum is important both for Bukovinian Jews and for those who have
emigrated, as well as for the children and grandchildren of former
inhabitants of Bukovina. They actively collect material about their
history and are interested in its dignified representation.
The museum is equally important for the citizens of Ukraine who belong
to various nationalities - for those who love their native country and
want to know its history and for those who are interested in the
phenomenon of Bukovinian Jews, a part of the Jewish nation that has
managed to build its own state after 2000 years in exile.
At the same time, in modern Ukraine there is also evidence of
anti-Semitism and xenophobia, based on ignorance and prejudice against
Jews. Besides, there is a new generation of people who are not aware of
the special atmosphere of tolerance and international accord which
existed in multinational Bukovina during the 19th century and the first
half of the 20th century. That is why the educational role of the
museum is so important.
The museum is also
necessary for the guests of our country who are interested in the
Bukovinian history in its complete diversity.
Bearing in mind the fact that Bukovina has a big
Jewish diaspora, the Museum counts on the all-round support of fellow
countrymen, researchers and descendants of former Bukovinian residents.
We can already see a lot of signs of a positive response to the idea of
the creation of the museum in the minds and hearts of former
inhabitants of Bukovina worldwide.
We hope the
museum project will be successful, because many people are interested
in the history of the Bukovinian Jews. This is the only way to keep a
connection between the generations and to overcome the tragic
generation gap which divides the society today.
The Museum of Bukovinian Jewish
History and Culture is dedicated to the phenomenon of the former
existence of the special local Jewish subethnic group on the territory
of Southeastern Europe - Bukovinian Jewry.
Our primary goal is not to show the life of the Jewish population of Bukovina in all aspects. First of all we intend to give an impression of the atmosphere of Jewish life in the area
in the last quarter of the 18th to the first half of the 20th century,
on the background of the difficult development processes within the
local Jewish community.
Historical information on the Bukovinian Jews
The history of the Bukovinian Jews comprises nearly
500 years. This period includes the existence of the community as a
part of the largest world empires - the Turkish, the Austria-Hungarian
as well as the Kingdom of Romania and the Soviet Union. All this has
marked the culture and the daily life of the Jews, who felt the
influence of the cultures of the peoples among whom they lived.
More details about the history
of the Bukovinian Jews ...>>