Ykp Pyc Eng De Ro


We invite you to visit the Chernivtsi Museum of Bukovinian Jewish History and Culture.

The Museum is dedicated to the remarkable but little-known phenomenon
of Bukovinian Jewry from the end of eighteenth century to the 1940s.
Here, in multinational Bukovina, there was no Pale of Settlement.
Here the Jews managed to gain equality with other peoples.
Here prevailed an atmosphere of tolerance, mutual respect and cooperation
among people of different nationalities and religious beliefs that was exceptional for those years.
Here Jewish culture flourished, influencing other cultures and being influenced by them.
Here there was an intense and bright religious life and a no less colorful and interesting cultural life.

And then everything disappeared in the flames of the Holocaust.

Come in. Have a look at the old photographs.
The faces of people who lived here in the past - they are no longer with us.
The houses where they lived and the synagogues where they turned to God still stand
but the people are not there.
There is no one who speaks their language.

Remember them. Hear them. Think.

Dear visitors of our website!

    The Museum of the History and Culture of Bukovinian Jews has completed a project aimed at the support of the museum’s collection and the creation of our own website, which was financed by the International Rothschild Foundation. This project was being realized during 2010. It was our first big project, which is why from the very beginning we counted on the help and support of our experienced friends and colleagues. And today with great pleasure we would like to emphasize that our expectations were not just met, but often even surpassed. While we worked on this project, everyone we asked was willing to help us, including even people we had not known personally before.  Hence, now after our first evaluation of the outcome of the project, we consider it our duty to express our sincere gratitude to them. 

    In particular, we are very grateful to Judith Stumptner (Leipzig, Germany), the Culture Manager of the Robert Bosch Foundation in Chernivtsi in 2008-2010, for literary revision of the German text of the audio excursion and to Natalya Lazar, coworker of the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University (Massachusetts, USA), for her help with the literary revision of the English text of the audio excursion.
    We are especially grateful to Mathias Grilj (Graz, Austria), a famous Austrian writer and journalist, for the highly professional narration and recording of the audio excursion in German, which he kindly produced for us at his own expense in his home country. This gesture by Mr.Grilj was a pleasant gift for us.
    We also thank Ivan Hatrych (Chernivtsi, Ukraine), audio producer and owner of the studio “Gigantstudio” for recording the audio excursions in high quality.
    The most important and responsible part of the project was the creation of our website that you are visiting right now. As this work was very difficult and consisted of many aspects, we could not have succeeded without the help of experienced specialists.
In this regard we express our sincere words of gratitude to web master Galina Kharaz, who created our website during the realization of the project and still greatly helps us concerning the website administration. 
    We would like to thank as well Nancy Wingfield, Professor of the Northern Illinois University (Illinois, USA), a very kind and nice woman, for literary revision of the English version of our website and for interesting advice concerning its content. For the same work with the German version of the website we are sincerely grateful to Dr. Benjamin Grilj (Chernivtsi, Ukraine), an Austrian lecturer at the Chernivtsi National University, who has supported us not only in the context of this project.
    Our enormous appreciation we address to Wolf Moskovich (Jerusalem, Israel), who is a famous researcher and professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a devoted friend of our museum and has supported it from the very beginning. We sincerely thank him for the scientific revision of the texts of our website and for very precious advice concerning its conception.
    For all-round support and helpful advice concerning the general management of the project we want to express our sincere gratitude to Dorina Zilbermints (Kyiv, Ukraine), the Director of educational programs of the Association of the Jewish organizations and communities (VAAD) of Ukraine, and to many other co-workers of this reputed institution.  
    Finally we also want to thank all other people, whose names we did not mention here, but whose contribution to our project, even the smallest one, we remember and highly appreciate.
    This project is over, but we have a lot of new ideas and thoughts. That is why we shall be very happy and honored to continue our cooperation in the future.

This website has been constructed to make the museum accessible to everyone who is interested in the rich cultural heritage and unusual past of Bukovinian Jewry, but are unable to visit in person owing to geographic distance or other reasons.
    The website is also meant as a bridge to those Jews living around the world, who are aware of their Bukovinian roots and want to know more about their heritage. We hope that the information presented here will be interesting for you and then one day we shall be able to welcome you at our museum.
    Furthermore, we want the site to be a platform for the promotion of contact and cooperation between researchers and research centres that are concerned with the Jewish community of Bukovina, including the museums and educational institutions in Ukraine and in other countries, as well as among the different Jewish and non-Jewish organisations in the city and region Chernivtsi, Ukraine and the entire world.
    We would be very grateful for your advice and suggestions for improving our website with additional historical information.

Thank you for visiting our website.

The staff of the museum.

News of the museum's life

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 developed.   
    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 past eras.

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 ...>>

Excursion around the museum (narrated by Joseph Zissels and Nataliya Shevchenko)
Video by Tolercamp

Photos by Bronislav Tutelman, Galina Kharaz, Josef Zissels, Natalia Shevchenko
were used for the design of the site.

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