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Photo: facebook.com/OdessaJewishMuseum Photo: facebook.com/OdessaJewishMuseum

100 years to draw conclusions

The euphoria of the revolution, a civil war involving foreign troops and a regular change of regime… In Odessa an exhibition has opened about the life of the city in 1917-1920

A little light is enough to disperse a great darkness” – this epigraph by Israel Baal Shem Tov was chosen for an exhibition at the Odessa museum of Jewish history “Migdal-Shorashim”, dedicated to one of the most difficult periods of history “in the blossoming acacias of the city”.

It started with the February revolution of 1917, which was accompanied by a general mood of optimism and even joy.

On Cathedral Square.

I can’t believe my eyes…

There were not hundreds, not thousands, but tens of thousands of soldiers, sailors, officers led by the top brass, marching with orchestras, with red banners, with red ribbons in their buttonholes, on their caps, on their bayonets. The head of the cavalry, leading the free troops, give an oath to die for the freedom of the people, and with them are students, workers, who call for the freedom, honor and happiness of the people that was won not to be insulted. And all of this, perhaps for the first time in Russia’s history, merged into one choir, singing the glory of the dawn of a new life.

Nature itself went wild. The sun, which had been seen so little of late, shone its greeting to them, when a new life awoke together with the first smile of spring.”

(Odessa News, 8(21) March 1917)

Then the civil war began, and the Austrians occupied the city… The city changed hands around 13 times, the periods where there were several different rulers make a precise calculation difficult.

Photo: facebook.com/OdessaJewishMuseum

This time is incredibly interesting, incredibly difficult, tragic, and as always in Odessa, it contains a good dose of humor,” says the head of the museum Mikhail Rashkovetsky.


The organizers of the exhibition tried to show that Odessa remained Odessa at that time, despite the war, repressions, starvation, transport, energy and food crises.


Odessans faced much more serious ordeals of hunger and destruction after Soviet power was finally established in February 1920. But that lies outside the given topic.

Photo: facebook.com/OdessaJewishMuseum

This is a 25-ruble note printed in 1917. They were obviously worth a lot more than they are nowadays…

Photo: facebook.com/OdessaJewishMuseum

This photograph shows a Jewish demonstration in Odessa about the Balfour declaration of 2 November 1917. On the balcony are the British consul J.Bagge, Odessa Zionist leaders Usyshkin, Klauzner and others.

Among the unusual exhibits is this glass vessel with an unpredictable use.

Photo: mayak.org.ua

It turns out that it’s a flycatcher!

If you want to enjoy the exhibition, take your glasses with you,” advises museum curator Mikhail Rashkovetsky. Then you will see small but historically very important items.

Photo: facebook.com/OdessaJewishMuseum

The museum is located at 66 Nezhinskaya Street. Owing to temporary electricity shortages, the museum is open from 10:30 to 17:00 (on Sunday until 16:00), and closed on Friday and Saturday.

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