Park East Synagogue and the Blavatnik Archive Foundation present Lives of the Great Patriotic War: The untold stories of Jewish soldiers of the Red army during WW2

Dinner and movie screening: Defiance, Wednesday March 5, 7PM – Special Reception: Thursday, March 6, 6PM

Lives of the Great Patriotic War explores the unknown story of 500,000 Jewish soldiers who fought in the Soviet Armed forces against Nazi Germany during WWII (known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War).  The exhibit presents, for the first time, the remarkable experiences of those who were there, and provides an overview of the war on Soviet soil and an examination of the factors that influenced its direction and outcome.  In print and interactive digital displays, the exhibit features war-time diary and letter excerpts, reproductions of archival photographs and documents, as well as video excerpts from contemporary oral testimonies.
While the unprecedented victimization of Jews during the Holocaust is well known and rigorously studied, the role of Jewish combatants in the conflict remains largely overlooked.  As soldiers in the Soviet Red Army, these men and women fought in the war’s largest and most ethnically diverse military force (30 million), for the country with the heaviest absolute losses (over 26 million).  As Jews, members of a group targeted for genocide, they survived the Holocaust and contributed to the defeat of Nazi Germany.  Lives of the Great Patriotic War highlights their unique and unforgettable experiences, and provides a link to the human experiences of life on the Eastern front: valor and fear in combat, Nazi atrocities, mourning for loved ones, the celebration of survival, and the unique circumstances of fighting as Jewish soldiers. 
Suitable for diverse audiences, the exhibit provides excellent opportunities for the development of accompanying public programming, including academic lectures, community-based discussions about 20th century history and modern identity, and opportunities o meet local veterans. Lives of the Great Patriotic War was produced and funded by the Blavatnik Archive Foundation, and is made possible thanks to the participation of nearly 1,200 veterans and their families in the Blavatnik Archive Veteran Oral History Project.

Distributed by Kosher Media

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