|Israel president Shimon Peres opens new Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre in Moscow |
The widow of first Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Naina (R), visits Jewish Museum in Moscow, on November 8, 2012. Peres opened today the first Museum of the Jewish History in Russia which aims to tell the story of Russia's Jews from Tsarist times through the horror of the Holocaust to the present. AFP PHOTO / NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA.
MOSCOW (AFP).- Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday opened one of the world's biggest Jewish museums housed in a converted Moscow bus garage which tells the story of Russian Jews from Tsarist times through the horror of the Holocaust.
Peres and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov opened the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre which is based at Moscow's Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage, designed in 1926 by constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov.
"There is no museum like this," Peres said at the opening ceremony attended by leading members of the Russian Jewish community including Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich and tycoon Viktor Vekselberg.
"This is great historical evidence of the greatness of man but also his weaknesses," said Peres, 89, who was born in what is now Belarus before his family settled in Palestine in the 1930s.
Peres recalled that both his parents had been born in the Russian Empire and everyone at home spoke "Yiddish, Hebrew and Russian", while his mother had sung him Russian songs.
"This is a very moving moment -- for my people, for my country and for me," he said.
The museum seeks to plunge visitors into the world of Jewish life with interactive displays and archive video, including interviews with Holocaust survivors and re-creations of life in a Tsarist shtetl or Soviet apartment.
President Vladimir Putin later hosted Peres in the Kremlin, telling the Israeli head of state that the museum was "another contribution to the battle against xenophobia and nationalism."
Jews were often repressed in Tsarist times and largely restricted to living in an area of the western Russian empire known as the "Pale" where many lived in densely-populated towns known as shtetls.
The reforms in the 1850s under Tsar Alexander II however brought Jews out into the cities of the Russian Empire, most notably Odessa in today's Ukraine and the museum seeks to recreate the atmosphere of a 19th century Odessa cafe.
-- 'Who will protect us now?' --
Hitler's armies in World War II then occupied most of today's Belarus, Ukraine as well as western Russia, leaving Soviet Jews exposed to the full brunt of the Nazi killing regime.
"An old woman went up to the departing Soviet troops and asked 'my sons and dears, who will protect us now?'" one witness showed in an exhibition video recalled hearing when Nazi forces invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.
"A sergeant then came out of the line and said 'don't worry we will be coming back'."
Putin at his meeting with Peres emphasised the Soviet Union had sustained the greatest loss of life in World War II but added: "We will never forget the victims among the Jewish people of the struggle with Nazism, we will never forget the Holocaust."
Heavily targeted during the 1930s purges, Jews suffered even after World War II in the USSR under Stalin's rule, especially when the purported discovery of a so-called "doctors' plot" against him unleashed a wave of anti-Semitic hysteria.
The exhibition shows Jewish victims of Stalin's repression like the leading Soviet actor Solomon Mikhoels who was murdered in 1948 in what the Soviet secret police made to look like a traffic accident.
But after the fall of the Soviet Union, Judaism benefited from a new state encouragement of religion.
In a symbol of his support, Putin donated part of his own salary for the founding of the museum, Federation of Russian Jewish Communities chairman Alexander Boroda said.
"This is a new era for the life of Russian Jews," said Russia's chief Rabbi Berel Lazar. "Many years for Jews were very hard and tragic. But now there are great changes."
The building was handed over by the Russian authorities to Moscow's Jewish community in 1999 after it stopped being used as a bus depot. Its redevelopment as a museum has been designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates.
Before it was turned into the Jewish museum, the building also served up to last year as the temporary home of the Garazh modern art exhibition centre of Abramovich's partner Darya Zhukova.
© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse
November 9, 2012
Pablo Picasso's "Nature morte aux tulipes" sells for $41.5 million at Sotheby's in New York
Rare well was discovered in Israel, one of the first revealed dating to the Stone Age
Wassily Kandinsky's Studie für Improvisation 8 sets a world auction record for the artist
Sotheby's Autumn Auction of American Art to be held on 29 November 2012 in New York
Dante Gabriel Rossetti's The Bower Garden to be offered at Sotheby's London British and Irish Art Sale
Bonhams auction of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian art features rare discoveries unseen for decades
Fritz Winter's paintings juxtaposed with László Moholy-Nagy's photograms in new exhibition
Israel president Shimon Peres opens new Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre in Moscow
Parisian, identified as Sofiane B., probed for selling fakes of 'Indian Picasso'
Turkish-Italian archaeological team explores site in the city of Karkemish on Syria-Turkey border
Meet Xenoceratops: Journal of Earth Sciences announces Canada's newest plant-eating horned dinosaur
Century of press photos from the International Herald Tribune newspaper goes up for auction
David Zwirner re-opens Chelsea gallery space with exhibition by artist Diana Thater
Cash-strapped UK officials sell Henry Moore statue
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts announces acquisitions made during September
Exhibition of new paintings by New York-based artist Sean Landers opens at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen
Contents of the Scottish home of the Premier Baron of England for sale at Bonhams
Contents of Killochan Castle, Ayrshire, sell at Bonhams for £364,000
The Hayward Gallery presents major exhibition of Chinese installation and performance art
Archaeologists discover Thracian golden jewelry
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- 'World's oldest message in a bottle', tossed in sea 101 years ago, reaches granddaughter
2.- East-West/West-East: Qatar unveils desert sculpture by American artist Richard Serra
3.- Ming-era 'chicken cup' sells for $36.05 million breaking record for Chinese porcelain
4.- United States pastor Kevin Sutherland convicted over Damien Hirst fake paintings
5.- Major exhibition at Pinacothèque de Paris explores the myth of Cleopatra
6.- Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles opens with inaugural exhibition "Van Gogh Live!"
7.- Landmark exhibition opens in New York exploring the ancient kingdoms of Southeast Asia
8.- Palm-sized scroll that mentions Jesus's wife is ancient: Harvard Theological Review
9.- Hitler's wife Eva Braun may have had Jewish ancestry: British television documentary
10.- Bonhams to sell Madame de Pompadour's favourite porcelain which surfaced in Devon after 350 years
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|