[Cz-L] Museum of Bucovina Jewry

From: David Glynn <glynn_at_spontini.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2008 17:19:56 +0100
To: vaad-ua_at_ukr.net, josefz_at_svitonline.com
Reply-to: David Glynn <glynn_at_spontini.co.uk>

Dear Mr Zissels,

I am writing to you because I understand that you are the driving force
behind the establishment of the proposed 'Museum of Bucovina Jewry' in
Czernowitz. I have strong family connections with the Bucovina; my
grandparents lived in Radautz and in Eisenau in the south Bucovina, and my
mother was born in Czernowitz and lived there throughout her childhood.

I have always been dismayed that there has been so little recognition in
present-day Chernivtsi of the city's Jewish past. Czernowitz was unique in
so many ways. It was a very Jewish city, a city where the Jews continued to
embrace Austrian culture even after the demise of the Empire, a city with
many artistic and literary connections. But there is nothing to bring this
magnificent history to the attention of either the present-day Chernivtsian
or the visitor to the city.

I was therefore delighted to learn of the proposal to open a 'Museum of
Bucovina Jewry', and that it will be located in such a prominent building as
the Jewish National House. At last, Chernivtsi is embracing its Jewish
past. And I was pleased to learn that the museum will be focussing on the
pre-war culture, as the recognition of this is exactly what is missing in
modern Chernivtsi.

I imagine that considerable negotiation with the City Council must have been
necessary. You are to be congratulated for helping to bring this to a
successful conclusion.

I was astonished to learn, however, that the museum will not cover the war
years and the Holocaust. I understand that you do not want the exhibition
to focus on death. And I would agree that the pre-war Jewish culture in
Czernowitz should be presented in direct terms, and not in the context of
its destruction. However, that destruction is an integral part of the
story. It is unthinkable to have a museum presenting Jewish life in pre-war
Czernowitz which makes no mention of how that period concluded - the ghetto,
the deportations, the burning of the Temple and other horrors. If no
mention is made of these facts, visitors to the museum will wonder why. And
they may conclude that it is the intention of modern Chernivtsi to
deliberately ignore the wartime trauma, and to "brush the Holocaust under
the carpet". I would hope that this is very far from the truth, but it
would be a natural conclusion.

So I would urge you sincerely to reconsider your position, and to extend the
focus of the museum to include the wartime period. If you would do this, I
(together with all my colleagues in the Czernowitz-L discussion group) would
be able to warmly embrace the museum, and give it our fullest support.

Yours sincerely,

David Glynn

London, UK
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Received on 2008-04-01 16:19:56

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