«Jewish Observer»
March 2002
5762 Adar

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The Museum of Kerch Jews was opened in the community center "Khesed Malka" in April, 2001. About 362 exhibits covering the two-thousand-year history of Kerch Jews were represented on a comparatively small museum's area.

Long before the Museum of Kerch Jews was opened the members of the "Gesher" community joined the pilot group and began to collect and bring to the future museum battle relics.

It turned out that the living members of the community, those who were at the fronts of the Great Patriotic War, managed to preserve old photos and documents, officer's shoulder-straps, surgical and medical instruments, decorations and, of course, memories.

The Holocaust and the Great Patriotic War themes are the main in this museum. The members of the veteran organization within the "Gesher" community are creating an album, where photo and life history of every veteran will be described.

Among exhibits of the museum are the books by Kerch Jews about the Great Patriotic War with authors' signatures and warm greetings: book by the first secretary of the Kerch party city committee in 1941-1944 Naum Sirota "Ways of war and peace", book by the member of the "Gesher" community, front-line soldier, member of the Krym Writers' Union Naum Slavin "We are intelligence officers" are among them. Gitel Gubenko sent her "Book of Sadness" from New York.

In the exposition you can also see copies of the German police orders, copy of the Odessa ghetto prisoner's identification card, a letter from the battle-front dated March, 5, 1942, original "Training Regulations for the Red Army infantry" which was published in 1943 with a special mark: "For official use only" and "Kerch worker" newspaper dated April, 12, 1944.

Photo from 1948 excited a lot. In it one can see krymchaki, who came back from evacuation, standing at the execution place of their fellow-town-men on June 26, 1942. Eyewitnesses still remember 1,5 thousand krymchakis and about 1 thousand prisoners of war that were shot near by the Adzhimushkayskiy ditch.

Special plane table is devoted to the Righteous of the World - families of Vilchinsky, Lenivtsevy, Kurtievy. There are photos and document copies on the plane-table confirming their high title name.

In this museum documents are prepared to establish memorial plaques to the leader of the Kerch defense committee Naum Sirota and the chief of the Political department of the Black Sea fleet, division commissar Arseniy Rasskin. Another memorial plaque will be mounted in the former Sennaya square - a place, where Kerch Jews met together before having been shot in Bagerovskiy ditch. Search for the Holocaust materials by the Museum of Kerch Jews continues.


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