On June 5, 2017, the renovated hall ‘The Post-War Period: from Catastrophe to Revival’ opened in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. The sections covering the history of post-war life of the Soviet Jews from 1946 until the 1960s were renovated from scratch. This part of the exposition was completely reworked and expanded. The purpose of the updates is to show post-war history of the USSR through the history of Jews who lived there and to disclose all nuances of this difficult and tragic period.
"We open a hall devoted to life in the USSR in post-war years in order to tell our visitors about challenges the Jews had to face in that period when it seemed that the atrocities of war were left behind. It is quite difficult for the young generation to imagine this, because today everyone is free to practice his or her religion and to follow traditions.
It is important to remember that terrible time, and it is important to realize that no one in today's world should be deprived of his or her rights because of the nationality or religion. The antisemitic policy of the USSR broke thousands of lives. Many prominent public figures and representatives of art and science were prosecuted, and we want to honor them and to eternalize their achievements", says Alexander Boroda, the General Director of the museum.
The post-war hall consists of nine themed sections: ‘Post-war Hopes’, ‘Rootless Cosmopolitans’, ‘Solomon Mikhoels’, ‘Defeat of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee’, ‘Doctor’s Plot’, ‘Lubyanka’, ‘End of the Era of Fear’, the hall ‘Unforgotten Names’, and ‘Soviet Apartment’.
Technologically-wise the exhibition demonstrated the latest achievements in the museum technologies: panoramic screens, multimedia installations, interactive solutions, light and graphic elements.
The section ‘Post-War Hopes’ is devoted to return of the USSR to peaceful life, people’s hopes for the best; it also includes such topics as the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and revival of the Jewish cultural life in the USSR. The exhibition is continued with such sad chapters of history as repressions, struggle with ‘rootless cosmopolitans’, winding up of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee and death of its first chairman Solomon Mikhoels, which was the beginning of political prosecution against Jews.
In interactive folders of the installation ‘Archive’, the visitors may learn about key events and documents of the post-war period: biographies of murdered JAC heads, cases of ‘rootless cosmopolitans’, stories about Jewish post-war theaters and post-war literature.
The audio installation ‘Lubyanka’ is a reconstructed chamber of the Lubyanka Prison with all prison things of daily use. In the cell there is an audiogram with extracts of prisoners' memoirs including those who were targeted in the investigation under the ‘Doctor's Plot’ of 1953, which was the culmination of the anti-Jew political campaign.
The section ‘End of the Era of Fear’ is represented by the media panel ‘Thaw’ with documents, photos and copies of government decrees, newspaper articles, and chronicles of the mid 1950s.
The multimedia installation ‘Soviet Apartment’ is devoted to the life of Soviet Jews at the end of the 1960s and early 1970s. The installation is in the museum permanent exhibition since museum’s establishment but after the reconstruction the ‘Apartment’ has another external decoration.
One of the key objects of the new exposition is the interactive installation ‘Unforgotten Names’ devoted to the memory of victims of political repressions, a memory wall in the form of a sky of stars projection with the names of lost.
The permanent exhibition of the Jewish Museum is being regularly updated with state-of-the-art technologies; the best Russian and foreign specialists and experts from different areas are taking part to its conceptual development.