Інститут юдаїки

  • Judaica Institute
  • Institut Yudaiki

History

Jewish Studies Institute is a public organization that was created in order to study and popularize the past and the present of the Jewish community of Ukraine . The Institute specializes in research in the field of Jewish history and culture of Ukraine and coordination of activities of researchers in this field.

The Institute was created after the tragic decades of Bolshevik repressions, Nazi genocide of the Jewish people, and bans on Jewish studies. In the late 1980s – early 1990s, when processes of national revival began, there was no expert in Jewish Studies in Ukraine who could help resume this research. We started practically from scratch, inspired by the striving to know and understand our past and present for the sake of a dignified life and future of our children.

The Institute tackles about 30 projects and programs. Among them are a number of research projects, a large-scale historical-archival program, the study of oral history, integral projects, such as creation of the “Jewish Life in Ukraine” Encyclopedia, conceptual topical exhibitions, etc.

Within the framework of the program for the preservation of the Jewish cultural heritage, the we created and constantly replenish the archive of the Institute, storing unique personal and public documents, personal archives of writers, artists, and figures of Jewish culture of Ukraine, photographs, works of arts, books, and many other materials that have been collected and preserved by the staff of the Institute.

The Institute is also involved in a lot of publishing projects . We have published more than 50 books on the history and culture of the Jews in the territory of Ukraine and abroad . Some regular publications of the Institute are the Literary-Publicist Almanac “Yehupets”, the “Jews of Euro-Asia” Journal, the Yearbook of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, and Jewish art calendars.

The Institute also carries out sociological research and research in political-science, organizes artistic exhibitions, seminars, lectures, the annual Festival of Jewish Cinematography, etc.

An important part of the Institute's work is its annual international conference on “Jewish History and Culture in Countries of Central and Eastern Europe”. Researchers of Jewish Studies from various cities of Ukraine, from Russia, Israel, United States, Poland, and other countries take part in the conference. A collection of the materials of the conference is published annually.

The Jewish Studies Institute acts in cooperation with many organizations and foundations both in and outside Ukraine. It is open to cooperation with all those individuals and organizations that are interested in it.

Archival and Other Holdings

The archive of the Jewish Studies Institute includes documents and materials on the history and culture of the Jews of Ukraine that have been collected and systemized for a number of years. We are trying to preserve testimonies of the history of the Jewish culture for the modern and future researchers.

Our task requires immediate actions, since we are talking about passing objects: the number of materials lost, thrown away, or spoiled by time grows every year; these include personal archives, collections, pieces of art, books, etc.

The Institute seeks for heirs of writers, artists, and figures of culture and arts in order to receive materials of their personal archives or copies thereof. We describe and study these archives, introduce the described materials into the scientific circulation, present them in exhibitions, while some materials get published.

Our collection has some rare, even unique documents that were found and preserved by our workers.

The archive consists of the following sections:

  • Personal archives of Jewish writers
  • Personal archives of Jewish artists
  • Personal archives of Jewish figures of science and culture

COLLECTIONS OF THE INSTITUTE

  • Collection of biographical interviews (“oral history”)
  • Book collection of the Jewish Studies Institute
  • Art collection of the Jewish Studies Institute
  • Collection of records
  • Collection of unique personal and public documents
  • collection of old Jewish photographs
  • Film archive of the Jewish Studies Institute
  • collection of Jewish election slogans and propaganda leaflets of the early 20th century
  • Collection of fascist anti-Semitic propaganda slogans and leaflets
  • Collection of old postcards
  • Collection “History of the Jewish Theater”

A significant part of the archive was collected within the framework of the project “Preservation of Jewish Heritage” with the support of the Hanadiv Charitable Foundation.

“Preservation of Jewish Heritage” Project with the support of the Hanadiv Charitable Foundation

The objective of the project is preservation, comprehension and introduction into scientific circulation of little known and disappearing materials on figures of Jewish culture and arts. The project envisages search, collection, and description of private and government-kept archives of figures of Jewish culture. The Institute searches for heirs of writers, artists, figures of culture and arts in order to receive materials from their private archives, or copies thereof. Most of this inheritance is still unknown to researchers. It can be found in different cities and countries. Sometimes, their heirs, many of whom do not know the language or the culture of the unique materials they possess, preserve personal archives of writers. The state archives of Ukraine also have a significant number of materials on Jewish studies, which have not yet been identified as Jewish. Neither were they ever used. The project envisages publication of books and artistic albums with the purpose of introducing the public to the Jewish cultural heritage that was destroyed during the Holocaust and Gulag. For more successful organization of search and research within this project and for further development of these topics, work is underway on creation of computer databases of figures of the Jewish culture of Ukraine of the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th, as well as creation of bibliographic and reference materials.

Description of Jewish funds and materials in archives of Ukraine

For a number of years now, the Jewish Studies Institute has been involved in search for and description of Jewish materials in the funds of archives, museums, and libraries of Ukraine. Within the framework of the project, research has been underway in the funds of Kiev archives, in particular, in the Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine (CSHAU), in the Central State Archive of Higher Bodies of Power and Administration of Ukraine (CSAHBPA of Ukraine), the State Archive of the Kiev Region (SAKR), the State Archive of the City of Kiev (SACK), the Central State Archive of Public Associations of Ukraine (CSAPA of Ukraine; former archive of the Institute of Party History under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine), the Archive of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (the Archive of Presidium of NAS of Ukraine), the Central State Archive of Film, Photo, and Phono Documents of Ukraine (CSAFPPD of Ukraine), the Central State Archive-Museum of the History of Literature and Arts of Ukraine (CSAMHLA of Ukraine), in the Institute of Manuscripts of the National Vernadsky Library of the National Academy of Sciences (NL of NAS of Ukraine), and in the archive of the Security Service of Ukraine – former archive of KGB (NKVD) of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. On top of this, workers of the Institute described materials on the Jewish history and culture found in the archives of other cities of Ukraine: in the State Archive of the Ternopil Region, the State Archive of the Ivano-Frankivsk Region, in the Lviv Regional Archive (the fund of the regional prosecutor’s office and funds of institutions of learning), and in the Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine in the city of Lviv. The archives of Kiev contain fragments from registers, legal acts that were adopted in Poland and the Russian Empire concerning the Jewish people and that speak of relations between the Christian and Jewish population. The Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk archives contain documents of the Nazi occupational authorities’ orders concerning the Jewish people; correspondence between the chief of the security police and SD and the German state administration in Lviv on how some Ukrainians and Poles violate Nazi orders and help Jewish people; accusations of certain individuals of various forms of assistance to the Jews. The Ivano-Frankivsk archive contains materials on the activities of almost 100 Jewish organizations that operated between the two wars. In the Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine in Lviv, the State Archive of the Ternopil Region, and the State Archive of the Ivano-Frankivsk Region, the following documents dated 1945-1956 were found and processed: on organization of Jewish religious festivals; on the situation with the religious life in the region; on Jewish communities; reports of personnel departments of certain establishments and district city administrations on Jews’ applications to move to Poland; information about the ethnic composition of specialists in the system of education, medicine, etc. Sources on Jewish history are found in the Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian languages, as well as in Yiddish and Hebrew. Some documents are in German, French, English, and Arab. Most of the researched materials have never been published before. As a result of the research of the archival funds of Kiev, in 2001, Victoria Khiterer published her book “Documents on Jewish History of the 16th – 20th Centuries in Kiev Archives. – Kiev – Moscow: Jewish Studies Institute – Bridges of Culture”.

Program “Jewish Addresses of Ukraine”. Preparation of a Guide

Among many historical and cultural monuments of Ukraine there are many objects related to the Jewish history and culture. These are religious, architectural, and ethnographic monuments, necropolises, museum and archival collections. Such outstanding figures as Baal Shem Tov, rabbi Nachman Bratslavsky, Martin Buber, Chaim Nachman Byalik, Vladimir (Zeyev) Zhabotinsky, Golda Meir, Sholom-Aleichem, and many others lived and worked in this country. For a number of years now, the Jewish Studies Institute has been involved in the study of these objects and the development of tour routes to the Jewish memorable places of Ukraine. Among them are tours to the shtetls of Western Ukraine, topical tours to the Jewish places of Kiev and other cities, etc. In 1998, the map of the “Jewish Addresses of Kiev” was published for the first time. It has been republished several times since then. Since 2000, within the framework of this program, we have been working on a guide of “Jewish Addresses of Ukraine” (author and compiler – Mikhail Kalnitsky). The structure of the guide contains such historically formed regions of the Jewish Diaspora as the Kiev region, Podolye, Volyn, Novorossia, Crimea, Galicia, and Bukovina. A review article is devted to each one of these regions. These are followed by the guide of routes developed for every populated locality, with the review of its general history and the history of its Jewish population. Separate chapters are devoted to the Jewish population of big cities of other regions: Kharkov, Poltava, Chernigov, etc. Texts are prepared on the basis of topical developments of the Jewish Studies Institute, libraries of the Jewish regional literature on local lore and periodicals, materials collected during the work of the Committee for Preservation of Jewish Heritage of Ukraine, and archival materials. The guide includes a lot of illustrations, among which are some unknown ones that have been found in archives and private collections. The guide will reflect the modern activities of Jewish communities as well. Text in the guide will be in Ukrainian and English.

Preparation of the “Encyclopedia of Jewish Life in Ukraine”

Project leader – L. Finberg; editors: M. Feller, V. Grinevich, and L. Grinevich The Encyclopedia is designed as a monument to the generations of the Jewish people who have been living in the land of Ukraine for more than a thousand years. They created a culture of their own. For ages they preserved and are now reviving common Jewish traditions. The Encyclopedia will be not only a reference book, but also a textbook for schools and universities, because most of the topics it touches on will be covered there for the first time. Therefore when choosing among the alphabetical and topical structure of the Encyclopedia, the latter was preferred. Among more than 80 authors of the Encyclopedia, there are four academicians and correspondent members of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Y. Dashkevich, Y. Isayevich, V. Moskovich, and O. Pritsak), 13 Ph.D. (G. Aronov, V. Gorsky, V. Gusev, S. Kvyt, V. Malakhov, F. Petryakova, V. Skuratovsky, M. Feller, Y. Khonigsman, and others), and more than 30 candidates. The editorial board of the Encyclopedia decided to deviate from the division of materials by topics, which is typical of topical encyclopedias (for instance, international relations, religion, literature, arts). They decided to structure the Encyclopedia by historical periods, and only within those – by subjects. Thus, the Encyclopedia will consist of seven sections:

  1. «Ancient Times and Middle Ages»
  2. «Jews in Ukrainian Ethnic Lands (end of the 18th – beg. of the 20th cc.)
  3. «First World War. Ukrainian Revolution and Civil War. (1914 – beg. of 1920s)
  4. «Ukrainian Jews Between the Wars»
  5. «Ukrainian Jews in Second World War. Holocaust of the Ukrainian Jewry»
  6. «Period After the War»
  7. «Modern Jewry of Ukraine». To make it easier for readers to get to the specific facts in the Encyclopedia, the compilers will make a subject and name index of it, as well as a dictionary of subjects and terms related to the Jewish life and traditions. Most of the materials of the Encyclopedia have been prepared. Its texts are undergoing literary and scientific editing at the moment.

History of the Jews in the Soviet period

This is one of the main topics that that Institute is working on. In 2003, the Institute prepared for publication and in 2004 printed the book of M. Mitsel «Jews of Ukraine in 1943-1953. Reviews of Documented History», “Library of the Jewish Studies Institute” series, Duh I Litera, 2004. Many other research works of the Institute relate to this subject as well. First and foremost, they are collected in the materials for the “Encyclopedia of Jewish Life in Ukraine”, in the articles by G. Aronov, M. Mitsel, Zh. Kovba, V. Grinevich, Y. Khonigsman, A. Podolsky, V. Gusyev, V. Lubchenko, Y. Melamed, and others.

Jewish religious communities in Ukraine after the Second World War

The objective of this project is to study the attitude of the Ukrainian Socialist authorities to Judaism after the Second World War and to find documentary materials on the lives of synagogues and religious communities in Kiev and Lviv. Research was carried out in 1995-1998 at the Central State Archive of Public Associations of Ukraine (CSAPAU), at the Central Archive of Higher Bodies of Power and Administration of Ukraine (CAHBPAU), at the State Archive of the Kiev Region (SAKR), and at the State Archive of the Lviv Region (SALO). Researchers collected and analyzed documents of various bodies of power, materials on Jewish religious communities in the CSAPAU (former party archive of the Institute of Party History under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine), in after-the-war bodies of materials of Fund №1 (materials of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine). Work has also been done with materials of Fund № 4648 (Religious Council) of the CSAHBU and in the funds of the Kiev and Lviv district committees of the Communist Party in the SAKR and SALR. On the basis of these archival materials, the “Library of the Jewish Studies Institute” published Mikhail Mitsel’s book “Jewish Religious Communities in Ukraine (Kiev – Lviv, 1945-1981)" – K., Jewish Studies Institute, 1998. – 261 p. ISBN 966-7273-07-5. The book contains historical reviews on the attitude of the Ukrainian Socialist authorities to Judaism after the Second World War (after 1944) and documents on the lives of synagogues and religious communities in Kiev and Lviv.

Jewish scientific establishments in the system of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in 1919-1949

This project helped find and research documents and materials relating to the work of academic Jewish scientific and research organizations: the Jewish Historical Archeographical Commission, the Jewish Proletarian Culture Chair of the Institute of Jewish Proletarian Culture, and the Cabinet of Jewish Culture. Work was carried out at the Central State Archive of the Higher Bodies of Power and Administration of Ukraine, at the Central State Archive of Public Associations of Ukraine, at the archive of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and at the Institute of Manuscripts of the National Vernadsky Library of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. These materials and research reveal a complicated process of turning Jewish scientific researches that had many directions in the 1920s into those of one-direction in the 1930s against the background of the general tendencies of the development of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Special attention must be given to the documents revealing the role of state, party, and scientific establishments, as well as the significance of the personal factor in the functioning of Jewish scientific and research organizations in the system of the Academy of Sciences.

“History of the Holocaust in Ukraine” database

The objective of this large-scale project of the Jewish Studies Institute is to create an expanded reference system that would unity all the known materials on the history of the Holocaust in Ukraine that have been found and described by Ukrainian and foreign researchers, including by the workers of the Jewish Studies Institute. Such an easily accessible system will help today’s and future researchers of the history of the Holocaust find their orientation in the vast volume of sources. We also hope it will help optimize and speed up the study and comprehension of the existing materials, many of which are still little known. The database includes:

  1. Description of the funds and documents of the Holocaust in the archives of Ukraine, including search for and, if possible, description of specific documents (annotations, date of writing, date of the events described, language, size, etc.).
  2. Description of the place of location of the Nazi concentration camps, forced labor camps for the Jewish people, ghettos, and prisons in the territory of Ukraine in 1941–1944, and reference to the relating documents.
  3. Description of sites of mass burials and shootings of the Jews in the territory of Ukraine during the Nazi occupation in 1941–1944. It includes the description of sites of mass burial, presence of monuments, memorial signs, and other information.
  4. Description of documents and funds in foreign archives.
  5. Anti-Semitic articles in the periodical press of the Nazi-occupied zone in 1941-1944
  6. Stories about the Holocaust in the archive of oral stories, etc. In addition, a reference section of the project is being compiled now. It will include information about international and Ukrainian organizations that are involved in the study of the Holocaust; bibliography of documentary and fiction materials devoted to the Holocaust; website addresses where information on this subject can be found; addresses and contact information of archives, museums, and libraries of Ukraine.

Project “Rabbis and Catholic Priests of Eastern Galicia during Second World War”

This work uses materials of a number of archives (the Central State Historical Archive in Lviv, the archives of the Lviv and Ternopil regions), periodicals (Polish, Armenian, and Ukrainian) of the between-the-wars and the war periods, published reminiscences of rabbis and priests, testimonies of the indigenous residents of Eastern Galicia, recorded in 1998-2001, and modern theological and historical-philosophical literature. The project focuses on the following questions: religious life of Christians (Greek Catholics, Roman Catholics) and Jews (Orthodox, Chassidic, and Reform), activities of religious communities, religious schools (seminaries, academies, yeshivas, and kheders), publication and distribution of mass and scientific theological literature of the war period. Special attention is paid to the attitude of religious figures and institutions to political, economic, and national movements, especially in extreme situations of the 1930s; the influence of priests and rabbis on the conduct, ethnic relations, and contacts between rabbis and Catholic priests, formation of a Judeo-Christian dialogue, and religious conflicts. The idea of fear for punishment for sins and calls to repentance by different denominations prior to the war is analyzed. Description is given to the facts and events of religious life of Galicia residents during the Soviet rule (1939-1941), of the practice and aftermath of declared atheism, separation of the religious tradition, the conflict of generations, the leveling of the influence of priests and rabbis on the conduct of people. Main attention is focused on the religious life of the Galicians during the Nazi occupation. Facts are analyzed of restricted activities, strict control and persecution of the Christian clergy; of specially cruel attitude, torture, and murder of rabbis, tsadiks, and Chassidim, the burning down of synagogues, and other acts of annihilation of the Jewish spiritual life. Religious life in ghettos is studied, as well as the influence of rabbis on the activities of Judenrat, on making situational decisions that would determine the further destiny of the community and of individuals, facts of comprehension of the tragedy of the Jewry. The project analyzes how Galician Ukrainians and Poles are preserving the memory of rabbis, their sacrificial acts, and their “quiet heroism”. On top of that, it analyzes the attitude of the Greek Catholic Church to the destruction of the Jewish people, actions of rescue of women and children, of baptism, of clergy’s influence upon the laymen’s attitude to the terrible fate of the Jewish people, and of anti-Semitic propaganda. It researches facts of anti-Semitic conduct among priests and laymen. The project also analyzes the silencing of the truth about the Holocaust in the Soviet Union and in the Ukrainian Republic, active anti-Catholic propaganda, falsification of the activities of the clergy of Eastern Galicia during the Second World War, and aftermath of preservation and loss of religious traditions in the lives of the population of Galicia.

Conduct of Local Population of Eastern Galicia During the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”

On the basis of archival materials (from the archives of the Ternopil, Lviv, and Ivano-Frankivsk regions, the Cetnral State Archive of Higher Bodies of Power of Ukraine), the analysis of the content and form of delivery of the materials in periodicals of Eastern Galicia during the Nazi occupation period of 1941-1945 on ethnic relations, national policy of Germany, and on the basis of the published memoirs recorded by the author from 150 indigenous Galician residents: Ukrainians, Poles, Jews, and their descendents who carry the historical memory, the project covers social and economic conditions of life of the three nations between the two wars and during the Second World War. Main attention is focused on the conduct of the local population during the Holocaust in Galicia. The object of research is traditional ethnic relations that shaped during the 19th century and changed under the influence of five governments that the Galicians experienced during the 45 years of the 20th century. Special attention was given to the tragedy of the Galician Jews, peculiarities of creation and work of organizations and structures for annihilation of the Jewish population: ghettos, forced labor camps, deportation to death camps, and mass shootings. Analysis was made of numerous German orders, their system of prohibitions and punishments (death) for Poles and Ukrainians for their contacts and assistance to the Jews. Another topic of this research can be headlined “Violence. Indifference. Compassion. Organized Help”. The project examines facts of passive resistance of the local population to the “new order” and positions of political and militarized organizations of Ukrainians and Poles concerning the destruction of the Jewish population. It analyzes in detail the activities of the Orthodox and Catholic churches, in particular, the rescue of Jewish women and children in monasteries and orphanages that was organized by Metropolitan Sheptitsky and carried out by nuns and monks. Materials have been collected on the rescue of Jews in the cities, towns, and villages of Galicia by Ukrainians and Poles, who have been officially named Righteous Gentiles in the last five years. For the first time, names were gathered of those Galicians who, while risking their own lives and the lives of their families, helped Jewish people and were killed by the fascists; the names of those who survived and had to live in silence in the territory of the former Soviet Union in order to avoid trouble or arrests of themselves or those they had rescued. In the context of the documented facts and testimonies, the project analyzes historical and household myths and stereotypes, “white spots” in the Holocaust of the Jews of Eastern Galicia.