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Stories of Soviet Jewish Soldiers Featured in New Holocaust Memorial Center Exhibit

'Lives of the Great Patriotic War' remains on display through Jan. 27 at the Farmington Hills museum.

Learn the stories of Soviety Jewish soliders who served during World War II in a new exhibit on display at the Holocaust Memorial Center (HMC) in Farmington Hills.

Open now through Jan. 27, 2013 “Lives of the Great Patriotic War" details the largely unknown chapter of Jewish history – the participation of 500,000 Soviet Jewish soldiers in the fight against the Nazis. According to an HMC press release, the exhibit is presented in cooperation with The Michigan Association of Russian Speaking Jewry in America.

The soldiers' stories are told through wartime diary and letter excerpts, reproductions of archival photographs and documents and oral testimonies. The free standing exhibit details the overall story of Soviet Jewish participation in the war and serves as a commemoration to all the individual soldiers who fought in what is known in Russia as the “Great Patriotic War.”

“While the victimization of Jews during the Holocaust is well known, the role of Jewish soldiers serving in the Soviet Red Army is virtually unknown,” said Stephen M. Goldman, Executive Director, Holocaust Memorial Center. “These brave men fought in the war’s largest military force of 30 million soldiers which unfortunately sustained the most losses. The war survivors are now telling their incredible stories 70 years later.”

Fifteen individual soldier profiles highlight moments from the war through personal diaries and letters, along with “then and now” photos of each individual. Photographs and postcards from the war zone bring to life the horrors of war along with soldiers’ searches for family and friends.  

Another exhibit wall celebrates the war’s victory, with a selection of postcards, letters and photographs dated May 9, 1945, announcing the end of the war.      

“This exhibit provides a direct link to the past, showing the valor and fear these soldiers endured in World War II, daily life on the Eastern front and ultimately victory,” added Goldman. “The Holocaust Memorial Center is proud to present ‘Lives of the Great Patriotic War’ to showcase these little known heroes of the war and honor their accomplishments decades later.” 

The Blavatnik Archive Foundation was founded in 2005 by American industrialist and philanthropist Len Blavatnik. Its mission is to discover, preserve and share a broad range of ephemera and captured memories that contribute to a better understanding of the Jewish experience.

The Holocaust Memorial Center is open Sunday – Thursday from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (last admission at 3:30 p.m.); and Friday from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (last admission at 1:30 p.m.). Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and college students and $5 for children.

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