Re: [Cz-L] Re: Museum-Holocaust

From: Simon Kreindler <>
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2008 12:03:40 -0400
To: Bruce Reisch <>
Reply-to: Simon Kreindler <>

Bruce Reisch wrote:
> Dear Friends:
> It's come to my attention that the driving force behind the
> establishment of a Jewish Museum in Chernivtsi is Josef Zisels, Chair
> of the Vaad of Ukraine <> and
> General Council Chairman of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress
> <>. This has come up on the list in posts from
> March 11 and March 22. I don't have all the facts, but it is a
> distinct possibility that Mr. Zissels may be the person who made the
> decision to focus only on the pre-War / pre-Holocaust period. For a
> person like this, who has been jailed in the past by communist
> authorities for following his own political beliefs, it's hard to
> explain why he would work so hard to establish a museum that is
> tantamount to a denial of the holocaust.
> More investigation is required. We can not assume the Chernivtsi
> authorities are behind the decisions.
> I have seen copies of correspondence from Josef Zisels addressed to
> another list member. Language/translation difficulties make it
> difficult to fully understand his reasoning, but he leaves open the
> door to the development of holocaust period exhibits in the future. He
> also proposes that an initial stage be completed in time for the
> August 19-20 celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Yiddish
> Conference, and that during the 600th Anniv. celebration in October, a
> campaign for the museum's expansion will be announced, along with
> plans for fundraising and the creation of an international council of
> museum trustees. The correspondence raises the possibility that if
> the "Diaspora" supports the idea, it will be possible to expand the
> museum to include the holocaust and post-War history. I take this to
> mean that financial support will be sought.
> After viewing the letter from Mr. Zisels, I have to say that I am
> still at a loss to explain why he supports cutting off the museum's
> coverage of the fate of the Czernowitz Jews. Some treatment would be
> much more accurate than no treatment of the War years at all.
> Another interesting point from the correspondence: the museum is to
> be named the "Museum of Bucovina Jewry", implying broader coverage
> than Czernowitz alone. The letter also alludes to contact with "Jews
> of "Die Stimme"", implying direct contact with the World Organization
> of Bukovina Jewry. Can anyone in our group confirm whether the World
> Organization has been in contact with Mr. Zisels and what their stance
> on the Museum might be?
> If we obtain his permission, we will be glad to share the full
> contents of his letter. For now, I can only paraphrase and comment on
> what I saw.
> Bruce Reisch


Thanks for sharing this new piece of information. Given his background,
it is indeed difficult to understand why Mr. Zisels would want to
participate in denying the impact of the Holocaust on the Jews of
Czernowitz. However, as you imply there may be more going on than we
currently understand. I would like to think your post represents a
possible ray of hope for a Jewish Museum in Czernowitz, which until a
couple of days ago appeared to be a lost cause.

Best Regards,

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Received on 2008-03-29 16:03:40

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