“Ukraine – Crucifixion” is the first-ever exhibition in Ukraine and around the world about the ongoing war and in the time of the ongoing war. It contains 1 776 authentic exhibits, collected by the Museum’s team without delay in the areas of hostilities and the newly liberated settlements of the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions from April 3 to May 6, 2022. Exhibition’s total area is approximately 900 square meters. Idea and curation by Yurii Savchuk, the Director General of the War Museum. Designer is Anton Logov.
The exhibition consists of the two antagonistic chapters – “Horde” and “Ukraine – Crucifixion”.
The first part briefly reveals the Russian propaganda, the full-scale invasion, and displays the military equipment, armament and the everyday-life items of the invaders from the “Russian world”.
The second chapter of the exhibition has two locations: “Ukraine – Crucifixion” and “Shelter”. The first one is based on the preserved spiritual and cultural objects, burnt window frames, remains of the house electronics and even training equipment, discovered on the ashes, as well as the children’s things, drawings and toys... The dominant core includes the saved treasures of the Ukrainian Nation: the entrance gate of the Virgin Mary Nativity Church in the village of Peremoha, the dome and the crucifix from the Jesus Ascension Church in the village of Lukianivka, Kyiv region, the damaged icon “Descent from the Cross” from the ruined St. Dimitry of Rostov Temple (town of Makariv), the destroyed carcass of the wall, on which the paintings of the world-famous artist Maria Pryimachenko were displayed in the burnt Ivankiv Regional History Museum... The second part reconstructs in details the realities of the Life and Time in different shelters under the shelling and bombardment by the hordes, and reveals 37 days of life in one of the Hostomel shelters... In the smallest details...
The exhibition is especially popular among the Museum’s visitors and attractive for the medias. By June 7, 2022, 7 812 visitors had seen it, 63 media publications, reviews, comments, covers and interviews on it had been prepared, in particular, in the leading international press The New York Times (USA), The Guardian (United Kingdom) and Le Monde (France).
Marking the Commemoration Day of Children Victims of the Russian Armed Aggression against Ukraine, the multimedia project “Children…” is presented. Under the arch of the Upper Moscow Gate of the 18th century of the Pechersk Fortress a martyrology of children killed during the full-scale Russian-Ukrainian war is exhibited.
Russia kills the children of Ukraine.
In order to assert its power, the aggressive state tries to deprive people of hope. And who can impersonate it more than children? The Russian missiles hit the kindergartens, schools, hospitals and residential houses. The “peaceful citizens” of Russia call their military for murdering and torturing the Ukrainian children. It is the true sign of despair. The occupiers realize they will lose, and try to break as many lives and hopes as possible, knowing nothing that in the free country the murders do not strengthen the tyranny, but only make the resistance fiercer.
It is impossible to estimate the real number of the killed and wounded children, as the occupiers continue the active hostilities.
When born, the baby receives a special gift from parents – NAME. It stays with the person during one’s whole life, and the guardian angel protects. The names of all the perished boys and girls are reflected in the “children’s” martyrology, which is projected inside the Moscow Gate accompanied by the musical composition “Sleep, My Baby”. This melody was created in memory of Danylo Didik, the 15-year-old civil activist, who tragically died in the terrorist attack in Kharkiv in 2015.
The tragedy of this performance is stressed by the artwork “Tree of Life”, the metaphor of the children’s deaths in the war. Red and black colors underline the drama and pain of the family tree. The red boxes contain the belongings of the children found in the museum expedition to the newly liberated areas of the Kyiv region. The black branches form the symbol of the fortitude of all Ukraine as the united family.
Memory of the innocent children will become our hope!
And our weapon.
Ukraine will win!
Team of the exhibition:
Special gratitude to Ruslan Horovyi and Serhii Zhadan for the musical composition “Sleep, My Baby”.
Partner: Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine.
The Russian horde, which with huge columns advanced on Kyiv in February 2022, ingloriously died on Ukrainian soil or fled back in March. The horde of criminals with an enormous number of weapons. An army that was rapidly turning into a mob of looters. Each of their atrocities became a striking illustration of the sense of the so-called “Russian world”.
During scientific field expeditions, historians and researchers of the Museum actively document crimes of the Russian army. Therefore, the appearance of military personnel on the museum front was a great surprise for museum workers and caused sincere delight among them. A meeting with people in uniform, who found such precious time during the hot phase of the war to search for artifacts, was a start of a strong friendship and a joint exhibition project.
From April 5 to 28, 2022, soldiers of the Main Information and Telecommunications Center of the Command of the Communications and Cyber Security Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine visited most of the settlements of the Bucha and Vyshhorod districts that were affected by the war. Their exploration of the sites of the recent battles was conducted according to the highest standards of museum scientific expeditions. As the result, hundreds of artifacts and printed sources were collected at the former positions of the Russian troops. Hundreds of photos documented: the field work of the researchers; discovered items that have already become part of the museum collection, which highlights the Russian-Ukrainian war; evidence of enemy war crimes.
Besides, these expeditions had also a humanitarian mission. Every visit was accompanied by providing assistance to the residents of the damaged villages and towns. Ukrainian soldiers, participants of these trips, tried to support the locals and bring joy to their lives by supplying them with essential goods. Children could feast on sweets, and adults forgot about the lack of food (even if only for a day).
The exhibition is dedicated to the work of the museum researchers and military communicators. It is conventionally divided into several thematic blocks that structurally complement each other. On the one hand, we have enemy clothes, shoes, household items; fragments of military equipment and weapons; documentary materials, including propaganda. On the other hand, there are photos and videos which demonstrate the episodes of imperceptible, but difficult and extremely necessary work. Now, these items are turning into museum exhibits.
The ruscists still have the strength... However, the best regiments and divisions of their horde have already been defeated. They either rot in the ground or run away, leaving everything behind. We are confident that the enemy will be completely destroyed and will never stay on the lands of our State!
Team of the exhibition:
Partner – the Main Information and Telecommunications Center of the Command of the Communications and Cyber Security Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
Dedicated to the 80th anniversary of beginning of the mass shootings of the Jews by the Nazis on the territory of Ukraine and the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy.
The Holocaust was one of the largest humanitarian catastrophes of the XX century. More than 6 million Jews lost their lives during the Second World War, due to the persecutions and systematic murders, that Nazi Germany committed together with its allies. Every fourth victim of the Holocaust came from Ukrainian territories. Ukraine lost more than 60% percent of its pre-war Jewish population and an entire world of its cultural diversity.
With the help of museum artifacts, project’s primary targets are to demonstrate the peculiarities, scale and tragic aftermaths of Holocaust for Ukraine, to reveal complicated, painful and controversial questions, to create a basis for visitor’s empathy toward the victims of genocidal practices, to actualize this dramatic page of our history in the collective memory of Ukrainians and residents of other countries, to stimulate the feeling of responsibility for its preserving.
Core part of the exhibition contains six thematic sections.
With a help of original materials from the Museum collection, as well as from the collection of the Sheremetiev Museum, the project reveals the mechanism, process and consequences of the ghettoization of European and Ukrainian Jews, the unique features of Nazi camp system functioning, the mass shootings of Ukrainian Jews in cities and villages, fields and ravines. Among the exhibits, the especially notable ones are yellow “Star of David” badges of Leon Buchholtz donated to the museum by his grandson Philippe Sands.
The chapters about the perpetrators and saviors highlight the duality of opposite experiences, motives and life principles of ordinary representatives of the non-Jewish population who faced the main Choice of their lives: to join the perpetrators, to sacrifice own life for others or to stay away. Their own choice in favor of rescuing 8-year-old Veniamin Boryskovskyi was made by the Ukrainian family of Oleynychenko from the city of Mariupol. They set up a shelter for him inside of old piano which recently became the “golden” part of the Museum collection.
The chronological “Curve of Holocaust”, created on the basis of documentary and photographical historical sources, will help the visitor to trace the key events of the European Holocaust and relate them with genocidal events in Ukraine. This is the method to attract attention to the fact that such wounds of Holocaust as Kamianets-Podilskyi, Berdychiv, Babyn Yar, Sosonky, Drobytskyi Yar, Bohdanivka, Janowska concentration camp, were inflicted on Ukraine during the Second World War and for many years were obscured, unspoken and omitted from the social memory by the Soviet authority. At the same time, Auschwitz and Warsaw ghetto became well-known symbols of the tragedy of the Jewish nation.
Composition “Destruction” is the titular and dominative artistic part of the exhibition. It is replete with artworks of famous artists Zinoviy Tolkachov and Isaac Tartakovskyi. Placed on the yellow planks, they are permeated with a hopelessness and despair of the victims of Nazi racial policy. At some point it seems that triumph of evil was absolute. But Memory became the sort of life-saving Ariadne’s thread from the labyrinth of Holocaust. It was Memory which led millions of forgotten names to liberation from such chimeric and ephemeral traps of Soviet definitions like “peaceful Soviet citizens” and “victims of fascism”.
The historical past and the memory of it are not similar. The clashes for truth about the Holocaust lasted after the end of the Second World War. The silence became the main syndrome of the totalitarian model of remembrance. That is why in the exposition, along with the dozens of stories of the Ukrainian Righteous among the Nations, the voices of the Holocaust witnesses, victims and rescuers sound. The incredible stories of escape of Genya Batashova, Ruvim Stein and Fedir Zavertanyi from the Babyn Yar are demonstrated for the first time.