Exhibition: Jews on Soil: Agro-Joint and agricultural colonies of South Ukraine in the 1920s – 1930s

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On April 14, 2013 Center for Jewish Studies opened an exhibition Jews on Soil: Agro-Joint and agricultural colonies of South Ukraine in the 1920s – 1930s at the Shevchenko’s Museum.

The exhibition presents materials, which address formation and development of the Jewish agricultural settlements on the territory of Ukraine from the middle of the XIX century until the end of of the thirties of the XX century. In the beginning of the twenties of the XX century, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee supported the project of restoration of the Jewish colonies in South Ukraine and signed the contract with the Soviet government. In June of 1924 an agricultural unit called Agro-Joint was coined. Its primary task was issuing help (financial, professional, technical, material) to groups of settlers. The unit existed until 1938 in the Soviet Union.

To a great extent the exhibition is based on the materials of the book by M. Mitsel “Last Chapter”: Agro-Joint in the Years of Big Terror, which was published by Dukh i Litera in 2012 in Kyiv, and on the archives of the Judaica Center. Special attention in the exposition is placed on the final stage of Agro-Joint activity in the USSR and its outcomes and also on the repressions of 1937-1938 directed at  the organization employees.

Visitors of the exhibition can also find unique documents and photographs related to the Agro-Joint activity and existence of the Jewish colonies. Moreover, there are thematic and  propaganda posters of that time.

The paintings of Mark Epshteyn (from the collection of the National Museum of Ukraine) are exhibited to illustrate the life of colonies of that time. A part of the exposition is dedicated to the agricultural tools from South Ukraine of the ХХ century (from the collection of the National Center of Folk Culture called Ivan Gonchar Museum).    The exhibitons also contains items from the private collections of Vakhtang Kipiani, Igor Golfman and Josef Zisels. The exhibition is accompanied by the demonstration of the documentary entitled Evrei na Zemle/Jews on the Soil (USSR, 1927).

The exhibiton was organized due to the support from the Joint Office in Kyiv.

On-line version of the exhibition:

  • Jews on Soil. On-line version

The photographs below were taken at the exhibition opening on April 14, 2013.

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