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Jews in the gulag

  • Where: Vaclav Havel Library, Řetězová 7, Prague
  • When: December 10, 2013, 19:00 – January 12, 2014, 12:00

Lecture and launch of an exhibition by Adam Hradilek and Jan Dvořák exploring the persecution of Czechoslovak Jews in the Gulag during WWII. The Václav Havel Library is holding the exhibition in cooperation with the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.

The exhibition Jews in the Gulag, which is being jointly held by the Václav Havel Library and the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, is the second project by the writing team of Adam Hradilk and Jan Dvořák. It follows on from the successful travelling exhibition Czechoslovak Jews in the Gulag, which was seen for the first time in March last year at the Václav Havel Library.

This time the subject of the exhibition is the persecution of Czechoslovak Jews in Soviet Gulag camps during WWII. Research to date, based on interviews with survivors and newly discovered documents from the NKVD archive, will be presented at the exhibition and in accompanying lectures.

At the start of WWII, hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Nazi-occupied countries of Europe sought shelter in numerous states around the world, encountering varying degrees of understanding and openness on the part of local governments. Refugees met a particular approach in the Soviet Union. Hundreds of thousands of refugees who crossed the Soviet border, some of whom found themselves on territory occupied during the war by the USSR, frequently became the victims of its repressive regime.

After the breakup of Czechoslovakia and the Nazi occupation of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939, thousands of Czechoslovak Jews fled to Soviet territory. In so doing, many escaped Nazi persecution. However, many of them were arrested by the Soviet secret police, the NKVD, and sentenced for illegally crossing the border or “espionage” to long sentences in prison and became slaves in Gulag correctional labour camps, where many perished.

The exhibition is supplemented by documents and items of daily usage by Gulag prisoners.

The items on display were found during an expedition to abandoned camps in Siberia organised by the association


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