News / Europe

Jewish History Museum Preaches Tolerance in Modern Russia

Jewish History Museum Preaches Tolerance in Modern Russiai
|| 0:00:00
X
November 16, 2012 11:37 PM
One century ago, Russia was home to the largest Jewish population in the world - about 5 million people. But Nazi genocide - followed by massive emigration - radically cut Russia’s Jewish population to only 150,000 today. VOA's Jim Brooke has more from Moscow.
James Brooke
One century ago, Russia was home to the largest Jewish population in the world - about 5 million people. But Nazi genocide - followed by massive emigration - radically cut Russia’s Jewish population to only 150,000 today.

Now, Russian Jewish groups are embarking on a new tactic to guarantee the community’s survival. In early November, on a quiet side street in Moscow, they opened Europe’s newest - and largest - museum devoted to Jewish culture, the Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center.

Inside the $50 million, privately financed museum, interactive exhibits draw people into Jewish culture, life and history.

Exploration of the past

On a recent afternoon, Asyia Muravyova, a 21-year-old Russian university student, pauses from exploring the exhibits.

She says, “The museum is interesting in that it differs from others because a person can not only read something and understand it, but can also get a feeling of what occurred. Everything here is a channel to feeling.”

The museum explores anti-Semitism under the Czars, Jewish participation in the 1917 Communist revolution, anti-Semitism and the Nazi genocide during World War Two, Jewish contributions to the Soviet War effort, and the heavy emigration of Jews immediately before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Katsiaryna Yurechka, a university student from Belarus, says the exhibits showed her a hidden history.

She says, “Here you see the history - you see the people suffering, but at the same time you also see people who were very brave, who participated in the Second World War. You see their vision, and how they tried to maintain a family together, try to stay together.”

Bridge from Russia to Israel

Israeli President Shimon Peres was born before World War II in what is now Belarus. He flew from Israel to Moscow for the November 8 museum opening.

Now 89 years old, the Israeli leader told reporters, “My mother sang to me in Russian, and at the entrance to this museum, memories of my childhood flooded through my mind, and my mother’s voice played in my heart.”

He said to Russians in attendance: “I came here to say 'thank you. Thank you for a thousand years of hospitality.'”

Museum chairman Borukh Gorin sees the new museum as a bridge between Russia and the one million Russian-speaking Jews of Israel.

Connecting cultures

Israelis and Russians no longer need visas to visit each other’s countries. There are now six flights a day between Tel Aviv and Moscow - the same frequency as flights between Tel Aviv and New York.

He said that Russian Jews that live in Israel “see themselves much more connected to the Russian culture, to Russian literature, to Moscow theaters.”

In addition to welcoming Jewish visitors from overseas, Gorin hopes the museum will push for tolerance for minorities here in Russia.

He said, “The best thing is to talk, to explain yourself, to tell your story, to tell your history - and to be much more tolerant by yourself to the national history, to the nation’s problems. And this museum is aimed in this field.”

He added that Russian Muslim leaders visited the Jewish Museum on its opening day.

Their reaction? To decide to build a similar museum to educate Russians about their history and Russian Muslim contributions to modern Russia.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Haron from: Afghanistan
November 18, 2012 8:39 AM
one thing is in Political points or views. Political points does not have permanent enemy or permanent friendship. and does not recognize any permanent enemy or permanent friendship. e.g: once upon a time Iran was the enemy of Russia. but, today they piece out an apple. one piece is eating by Iran and one piece is eating by Russia. if Jews feel that Russia will stand with them against Iran, Syria or China. this means they want to perish themselves. because political points does not accept any borders.


by: Tim Upham from: Tum Tum, United States
November 17, 2012 4:44 PM
It does not just preach tolerance in Modern Russia, but shows a part of Russian history. For Jews, and their culture and history are very much a part of Russia. The majority of American Jews are descendants of Jews from Russia. Lenin was a mixture of German, Swedish, Jewish, Chuvash, and Kalmyk. When it comes to Jews and Russia, how can you separate one from the other?


by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
November 17, 2012 11:09 AM
It would be a good idea to open one in Gaza.
The pen is mightier than the sword.

In Response

by: Tim Upham from: Tum Tum, United States
November 17, 2012 5:53 PM
This is not World War II. The Jews in World War II were not a political entity. Recently, a sister of a Hamas leader was treated at an Israeli hospital. Hamas has recognized the pre-1967 borders, and Hebrew is now being offered in Gaza schools. Hamas is more than capable of recognizing the State of Israel, but they need international pressure to do so. Turkish President Abdullah Gul has called upon Hamas to recognize the State of Israel. But more international pressure is needed.

In Response

by: jimmy from: Orange county Cali
November 17, 2012 4:58 PM
Gaza is our generations version of Germany concentration camp. People are not allowed to go in or out. It’s sad when people say “They don’t recognize Israel’s right for existence”. It’s the same as Hitler saying “Yeah, for some reasons the Jews don’t like me?”

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid