Еxhibition “In Memory of the Minsk Ghetto”
18.10 - 10.12.2018

From October 18 to December 10, 2018 exhibition “In Memory of the Minsk Ghetto” will be open in the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus. The exhibition is dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the liquidation of the Minsk ghetto during the Second World War. From August 1941 to October 1943, in the Belarusian capital the fascists killed over 100,000 people — children, women, men, and the elderly. They were not just the Minsk citizens and residents of nearby villages, but also those deported from countries of Europe – Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic. These dramatic pages of history are reflected in the Belarusian art of different decades. Here are just some of the names of artists for whom this period became a personal tragedy.

Abram Brazer (1892–1942) – Soviet sculptor, graphic artist, painter. Honored Artist since 1940. Born in Chișinău, in 1910 he graduated from the Chișinău Art School. In 1912–1916 studied in Paris, lived in the famous “La Ruche”, where he became close friends with Marc Chagall. In 1912–1914 he studied at the Paris National School of Fine Arts. From 1918 he lived in Viciebsk, where he played a prominent role in the artistic life of the city – he taught at the Viciebsk Art and Practical Institute, organized exhibitions and debates on modern art, and developed the collection of the Viciebsk Museum of Modern Art, created sketches for festive city decorations, designed performances at the Jewish Theater. Author of a number of monuments in the territory of BSSR. Since 1923 he lived in Minsk, was a member of the All-Belarusian Association of Artists and the Revolutionary Organization of Artists of Belarus, the BSSR Union of Artists. Abram Brazer's large solo exhibition opened in June 1941 a few days before the outbreak of the war. All the works at the exhibition were destroyed, and the artist himself with his family were executed in the Minsk ghetto in March 1942. Unfortunately, very few works by Abram Brazer remained. There are only 4 of them in the collection of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus (a sculpture, a painting and two graphic works).

Isaak Milchyn (1894–1941) – artist of whom very little is known. Born in the Belarusian town of Ivianec, since 1909 studied at the Drawing School of Jakau Kruger in Minsk. In 1911–1914 Isaac Milchyn lived in Germany, attended the Berlin Art School. In 1921 he began to participate in exhibitions, was a member of the Minsk branch of the All-Belarusian Association of Artists. At the beginning of the war, Isaac Milchin died with his wife and daughter in the Minsk ghetto. His son Lev Milchyn (1920–1987) at that time was studying at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography, which was evacuated to Almaty (Kazakhstan). Subsequently, Lev Milchyn became famous Soviet animation artist and the rest of his life he worked at the “Soyuzmultfilm” animation studio.

Mark Zhytnitski (1903–1993) – graphic artist, born in Mahilioŭ. He studied in Moscow at the Workers' Faculty of Art (1925–1929), as well as at Vkhutemas (1929–1932) at the publishing department. Since 1932, he worked as an artist in the Belarusian State Publishing House in Minsk, and was arrested in 1936 with regard to its case. He stayed at the Ukhta Gulag until 1946. The rumors about the tragic fate of the Jewish people in the occupied territories prompted the artist to create works on the war and the victims of fascism. Later, returning to Minsk, Mark Zhytnitski learned that his wife, mother and relatives died in the ghetto, and his daughter was adopted by the family of Piatro Glebka. In 1949, the artist was convicted again, but rehabilitated in 1956. From 1971 until the end of his days he lived in Israel. Mark Zhytnitski devoted most of his artworks to the tragedy of the Jewish people during the war years.

Lazar Ran (1909–1989) – Soviet graphic artist, painter, sculptor. Born in Dvinsk (now Daugavpils, Latvia). He studied at the Viciebsk Art College (1928–1932), attended the studio of Judal Pen. Participated in exhibitions since 1934. He became a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR in 1940. He lived in Minsk since 1932. During the war years he lived in Moscow. After the liberation of Belarus, he returned and found out that his family died in the ghetto. From now on, the subject of the Minsk ghetto becomes central to his work.

Works from the collection of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus resented at the exhibition provide an opportunity to recall the disaster experienced by humanity.


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