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Holocaust Memorial in Bucovina

by Iuliia Skok

International Conference of Historians in the Ukrainian city Czernowitz

On September 4th an exchange between Ukrainian, German, Romanian and Russian historians and contemporary witnesses on the topic “the Holocaust in Bucovina” took place in the Ukrainian city Czernowitz.

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The event was organized by the German NGO “Zentrum Liberale Moderne” and was supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.
The first conference of this kind took place in Odessa last year, dedicated to the topic “The Holocaust in Bessarabia”. The organizers’ intention was to raise awareness about the victims of the Holocaust on Ukrainian territory. The Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation supported the Event within the framework of its involvement with the Culture of Remembrance (Erinnerungskultur).

Holocaust museum in Bukovina
Josef Zissels, head of the Association for Jewish Organizations in Ukraine, has been working with the construction of the Holocaust Museum in the Bukovina Region for 3 years. The Museum should not only tell the story of the Holocaust in Ukraine but also raise awareness about the Holocaust in Transnistria, where approximately between 300 000 and 500 000 Jews were exterminated. While the Holocaust in Germany is often associated with the largest German concentration camp in Auschwitz, it was in the case of former Soviet Union Countries rather a “Holocaust by Bullets” (Patrick Desbois). Here, the local history is especially tragic, since the Jews were shot both by the German so called Einsatztruppe and the Romanian army, followed by the Soviet Regime that did not acknowledge or distinguish between certain groups of victims. Even though that changed with Ukraine gaining independence, it is still important to work actively with the making of a Culture of Remebrance. The Museum is dedicated to that purpose and it will be situated where the largest Jewish graveyard is located. With German support, a Museum will be created that makes visible the victims but also the perpetrators.

Development of the Holocaust-Memorial in Romania and in today’s Russia
According to a comment from Deutschlandfunk by the Russian historian Iryna Sherbakova, Stalin is not only sugarcoated but almost glorified today and the Hitler-Stalin Pact is even being denied. However, in contrast to the 90s there is a Holocaust-discourse in Romania these days. Romania has internationally acknowledged its historical responsibility. During the 90s, few where willing to recognize the fact that the former premier minister Ion Antonescu engaged in the atrocities that have been carried out in Bessarabia, Burkovina or in Transnistria. From their view this wasn’t possible, since there were no concentration camps on the Romanian territory that could have proved anything like that.

Holocaust by Bullets
According to the head of the Centre “Liberale Moderne” Marieluise Beck, it is therefore crucial to ensure that the new Culture of Remebrance focuses not only on the narrative of a “Shoa by Ghettos” but even on a “Shoa by shootings”. Unfortunately there are still many blind spots in the perception of history. It is for example largely unknown that 1,5 million Jews from former Soviet Union Countries were murdered by SS-soldiers, Police forces, Special forces and collaborating parts of society even before the “official” mass killings started. The discourse of the “German Responsibility” needs to be deepened and for this aim international conferences for historians with the results being published to a broad audience in Germany are inevitable. A first such conference took place last year in Odessa. The results from both conferences, the one on Odessa and the recent one in Czernowitz are soon to be published.

Translation from German into English: Annika Ruge, intern

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Tim B. Peters

Tim B

Referent Medien und Demokratie +49 30 26996-3626 +49 30 26996-3626

Iuliia Skok

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Research and Project Assistant +380 44 4927443 +380 44 4927443
Event Reports
November 18, 2016
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