June 13, 2011 / 11 Sivan 5771
The next Limmud FSU event for young Russian speaking-adults, to be called “Limmud FSU Tekumah,” will take place in the town of Vinnitsa, Ukraine, some 150 kms. south-west of Kiev, on 17-19 June 2011. Vinnitsa lies in the province of Podolia, the heartland of the Jewish Pale of Settlement up to 1941.
Limmud Tekuma (Tekuma in English is “revival” or “rebirth,”) will mark the 70th anniversary of “Operation Barbarossa,” when on Midsummer’s Day 1941, the wehrmacht smashed across Germany’s Eastern borders, thus launching the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union which led to some of the most bloody and protracted battles of the Second World War.
On July 19th, 1941, Vinnitsa was overrun by German troops. Adolf Hitler established his easternmost headquarters, FHQ Wehrwolf, near the town and spent a number of weeks there in late 1942 and early 1943. For the Jews, the greatest catastrophe came during Rosh Hashanah (September 22nd, 1941) when virtually the entire Jewish population of Vinnitsa, some 28,000 people, were massacred by the Nazis.
Limmud FSU has chosen the town of Vinnitsa as living evidence that Jewish life, culture, education and national identity is alive and thriving even after such horrors. Today some 40,000 Jews live in the greater Vinnitsa region.
Some 300 participants from all over Ukraine are expected for the three days and two nights. In the best tradition of Limmud FSU, there will be a packed program of lectures, presentations, cultural performances, workshops and round-table discussions with dozens of lecturers and presenters from Israel, Ukraine, and all over the world. Among Holocaust related subjects to be discussed are “The Eichmann Trial – an eye-witness account,” “Faith after the Holocaust,” “Jews in the Resistance movement in Vinnitsa,” “The Holocaust as a fundamental aspect of Israeli statehood.” On a lighter note there will be master classes in dance, making Jewish-themed articles in batik, the art of paper-cuts and a gala concert.
During this Limmud FSU gathering, the foundation stone for a memorial to the Jewish victims at the site in the city where most of the Jews of Vinnitsa were massacred will be unveiled. The ceremony will be held together with representatives of the Ukrainian Government, the Israel Embassy in Ukraine, the Vinnitsa Municipality, local Holocaust survivors and the Tekuma All-Ukraine Center for Holocaust Studies. MK Yossi Peled, the government minister charged with responsibility for the welfare of Holocaust victims, and MK Alex Miller, chair of the Knesset Education Committee will take part. After the ceremony, a visit will take place to the Jewish sites in the city and to the Hitler bunker.
Major funding for Limmud FSU Vinnitsa is being provided by the Conference for Jewish Material Claims against Germany, the Vinnitsa Regional State Administration and Vinnitsa City Council, the Israel Prime Minister’s Office: “Nativ,” Keren Hayesod and Hillel.
Limmud FSU events have already taken place this year in Moscow and in Beersheba. Others are planned for St. Petersburg, Odessa and Kishinev, Moldova, in addition to Vinnitsa.
For more about Limmud FSU, visit http://www.limmudfsu.org/en