Research Fellow Andrii Shestaliuk gives an insight into the making of the past special exhibition »Voices«, which sheds light on Jewish life in Ukraine and will soon be transferred to an online version
About a year ago, in June 2022, I came to the Jewish Museum Augsburg Swabia as a research fellow. Previously I had studied history and archeology in Ukrainian Catholic University and worked at the Memorial Museum of Totalitarian Regimes »Territory of Terror« in Lviv in Ukraine. Thanks to a scholarship, partially funded by the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung and by the Stiftung Jüdisches Kulturmuseum Augsburg, I was able to continue researching the Jewish history of Ukraine from Augsburg, a topic that is also related to the local Jewish community. About 50 percent of the community members have their roots in Ukraine.
After my arrival in Augsburg, I started working with my Ukrainian colleague Daria Reznyk on the exhibition. »Voices. A Mosaic of Ukrainian Jewish life« opened in October 2022 and covered more than a hundred years of the history of Ukrainian Jews, from the beginning of the 20th century up to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war.
The initial idea was to use existing interviews with eyewitnesses of various events to show the diversity of Jewish life in Ukraine through the lens of the experiences of ordinary people. Our Ukrainian partners provided the interviews: the »NGO After Silence«, the Urban Media Archive in Lviv, and Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in Kyiv. However, while working on the exhibition we realized we needed to record more interviews to make the final picture more complete. In particular, we decided to search for interviewees among Ukrainian Jews who had previously immigrated to Augsburg.