Silver, engraved Torah shield from Zhitomir (Ukraine), early nineteenth century.
(Ukrainian Museum of Historical Treasures, Kiev).
Posts tagged Ukraine.
Archival footage from the early 1930s of children in the Hebrew Gymnasium in Munkács, Ukraine singing “HaTikva”.
"Sometimes children were forced to perform antireligious actions in school that were organized in the form of a game. Many respondents reported that the idea of Passover was connected with various unconventional activities. Samuil G., who took part in these events in a shtetl in the Ukraine, remembers:
[W]e had many interesting activities taking place in [Yiddish] school. First, older children, the komyugistn [Komsomol members] would come to conduct some activities for us. They explained how religion oppressed the masses in other countries. We played many interesting games together. For example, on the first day of Passover, they would gather us together and give each of us ten pieces of bread. We were given the task of going to Jewish houses and throwing a piece into the window of ten different houses. The one who was the fastest would receive a prize. We enjoyed the game very much, especially when the old, angry women came out of their houses and ran after us screaming ‘Apikorsim!’ [‘Heretics!’]. We felt like heroes of the revolution and were very proud. But in the evening we would all go home and celebrate the traditional seder with all the necessary rituals.”
— Anna Shternshis, Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 (2006), p. 41.
More on Red Passover
1: Jewish colonists, residents of a collective farm in Stalindorf, a Jewish autonomous subdistrict of the Kherson region (now in Ukraine) reading Der emes, 1937. (YIVO)
2: Der apikoyres, special fall edition, Kiev, 1923. The text reads: “The Torah is the best merchandise.” (via joanerges)
"[A]nti-Judaist diatribes were found throughout all types of Soviet Yiddish publications, from newspapers to scholarly discourses. At least seventy-four titles of specifically antireligious Yiddish literature were issued between 1917 and 1941. The Yiddish Communist newspaper, Der emes (The truth), became a leading forum for antireligous writing. The most intensive period of publishing antireligious literature was from 1927 to 1935. A special Yiddish-language periodical, Der apikoyres (The godless) was published from 1931 to 1935 by the League of the Militant Godless.”
— Anna Shternshis, Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 (2006), p. 4.
The municipality of Lviv, Ukraine, recently announced its decision to stop using Jewish headstones as paving materials.
The announcement follows a protest by members of the town’s Jewish community, who claim that hundreds of the old tombstones are still used as materials for construction projects.
In the years following World War II, the Soviet Red Army used the tombstones to build the town’s roads, sidewalks and the central Krakivsky Market, as well as for rebuilding structures that had been destroyed in the fighting.
The market was built on the site of a Jewish cemetery that had been devastated during the German occupation.
Authorities in Lviv have promised Jewish community leaders that the gravestones will be transferred to the only local cemetery that was not destroyed during the war, the town’s two main synagogues having been destroyed in the Nazi bombardment.
Some fragments of Jewish headstones were also found in villages outside of Lviv, and local residents said that they were waiting for the municipality or the Jewish community to return them to their original locations. Lviv authorities said that they will collect the headstones from around the city, if they can find the necessary financing.
No Place on Earth brings to light an extraordinary true tale of survival that remained untold for decades. In 1993, Chris Nicola, an American cave enthusiast, was exploring the Ukraine’s “gypsum giants,” some of the longest horizontal caves in the world. Within this labyrinth, he came across signs of former human habitation: buttons, an old house key, a woman’s dress shoe. Locals told him that during World War II, there were rumours of Jewish families hiding from the Nazis in the caves. No one knew what happened to them; over ninety-five per cent of the Jews in this region of Ukraine perished in the Holocaust. It took Nicola nine years to uncover the secret that the cave survivors had kept to themselves after emigrating to Canada and the United States — now, they were ready to tell their story. Built upon interviews with five former cave inhabitants, No Place on Earth is a testament to ingenuity, willpower and endurance against all odds. In total, thirty-eight people of all ages wound up living in the caves for nearly eighteen months, until the region was liberated by Soviet Army — the longest underground survival in recorded human history. The survivors recount their harrowing experiences in this harsh environment as they learned to find food, water and supplies and built secret escape routes to evade capture or being buried alive. Director Janet Tobias brings their memories to life with artful re-enactments that vividly recreate this unimaginable existence beneath the earth.
וויגליד • Lullaby • Sidor Belarsky
Sidor Belarsky, born Isidor Livshitz (February 12, 1898 – June 7, 1975), was a Ukrainian-American singer born to a Jewish family in Kryzhopol, Ukraine. (x)
Jewish organizations around the world are furious with the Ukrainian government … after a Ukrainian politician used an Anti-Semitic slur in a Facebook rant about Mila Kunis.
The man who set off the controversy is lawmaker Igor Miroshnichenko — who had written that Mila (a Jew who was born in the Ukraine) is not a true Ukrainian because she’s a “zhydovka” … a word that has been used as a slur against Jewish people since the Holocaust.
After protests by Ukrainian Jews, the Ukrainian government announced the word was OK to use because it appears in the Ukrainian dictionary as a term for a Jew that isn’t necessarily a slur.
Now, the famous Simon Wiesenthal Center in L.A. is getting involved — firing off a letter to the Prime Minister of the Ukraine to “express our outrage and indignation against the slanders of the Svoboda Party directed against the Jewish community in the Ukraine.”
In the letter, Rabbi Marvin Hier explains … the term “zhydovka” translates to “dirty Jewess” … and was used as an “insidious slur invoked by the Nazis and their collaborators as they rounded up the Jews to murder them at Babi Yar and in the death camps.”
The org. has called on the Prime Minister to “publically condemn this attack and to take measures to defeat the xenophobic forces that threaten your democracy.”
Well, if the dictionary says it.
I remember how the Jewish Communists closed the Jewish synagogue in Berdichev in 1929 or 1930. There was a synagogue near the sewage works. There were many synagogues in Berdichev, more than 130. There was a tailor’s synagogue. Some old Jews used to go there; they prayed minkhe and mayrev. It was a small synagogue.
Ian D., oral testimony in Anna Shternshis’ Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939
Some younger children and I were walking around there. Suddenly, we saw many young people marching in the street. They were playing musical instruments. It was a small band. For us children, it was a big deal at that time so we all followed them. They were lined up in columns. They were wearing beautiful clothes, some green and blue, white shirts. At that time, the komyugistn [Young Communist League members] used to wear uniforms. They were approaching the synagogue. They came to the synagogue, and they stopped and played. After playing, they set up a platform and a table, and we, all children, were there, because we loved the band. One of them took out a paper and read aloud that religion was not good, and that the synagogue is evil, too. “We, the members of the Young Communist League, voted that the synagogue disturbed our work and was harmful to youth so it had to be closed.” So, some people went into the synagogue and they kicked out the old Jews who were praying there. The old Jews went out; they said they were not able to fight with Jews. All the young men were Jewish. After that, the komyugistn took a board, a hammer and some nails, and shut the door and put a notice on the front of the synagogue that it was closed by resolution of the Communist Youth Organization of the clothing factory. That was it. From that moment on, the synagogue did not exist any more.
GET YOUR FESTIVAL OF LIGHT SWITCHED ON WITH THIS HANUKKAH LAMP
Galicia or Ukraine, ca. 1800 Silver: cast, filigree, engraved The Max Stern Collection. Collection of Yeshiva University Museum, New York. This lamp is of the Ba’al Shem Tov type, named after the founder of Hasidism, who, tradition tells us, owned a Hanukkah lamp of this type. This made it very popular in the Ukraine and in Poland. Unfortunately, many collectors have purchased lamps of this type in the mistaken belief that their purchase was originally owned by the Baal Shem Tov himself.