International workshop with final presentations | Report from Chișinău, Chernivtsi and Grodno

06-12-2020 | Alexandru Bejenaru, Liliia Shutiak, Oleksii Yakoviichuk, Krystina Marchuk

The final online workshop of the participants in the Digital Project «Measuring Ghettos: Grodno – Chernivtsi – Chișinău» took place on the 6th of December 2020. During this workshop, students and pupils from the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus presented and discussed the final products of their micro-projects, which they worked on for almost two months.



The first group of the participants from the Republic of Moldova (Cătălina Plinschi, Mihaela Cebotari, Alexandru Sumnevici și Cătălin Vacarciuc) presented their film «Measuring the Ghetto». Multiple video and photos sequences with a total duration of 25 minutes focused on the history of the Chișinău Ghetto, the digital map and interviews made with the passers-by from the Moldovan capital about the subject of Holocaust memory. The participants received many questions from their colleagues from Cernăuți and Grodno about the territory of the Ghetto and how much it has changed until the present time, about how long did the Ghetto exist and about the fate of its victims, as well as about the impressions from the interviews made with the passers-by in Chișinău.

The second group of Moldovan students (Cristina Savin, Andrei Arpenti, Daniil Grosu) presented another film of their own, «Stories from the Ghetto», in which were underlined the memories of the survivors and witnesses of this tragedy. The results of this micro-project were discussed in details by the participants of the international project, the authors answered numerous questions from their colleagues about the cases of forcing local Jewish population to hard works, the role of the local population in the assassination of the Jews, and the cases of plundering and expropriation of the Jewish community’s wealth.

The third micro-project of the participants from the Republic of Moldova, named «Stolpersteine» was presented by Dumitru Rață and Virginia Guțu, focused on the stumbling blocks installed in Chișinău. Utilizing the specific-to-general approach, this presentation in the form of a digital portal is structured in four chapters, in which are presented detailed information about the stories of the families, whose names are engraved on the Stolpersteine, about the initiators of this project in Moldova, history of the Chișinău Ghetto and of the Holocaust in Moldova. This presentation was also highly appreciated by other participants and amongst many questions were those about who financed and installed the Stolpersteine, about the reactions of Chișinău citizens and Jewish community regarding the installation of the Stolpersteine.



Participants from Chernivtsi prepared two projects. «Selma. A Talent in a Ghetto» is a multimedia project that contains a short biography of the poet, supplemented by original illustrations drawn by one of the participants, Olena Shalan. There are also a couple of Selma’s photos which demonstrate her life. The second part of the micro-project is dedicated to an interview with literary critic and translator Petro Rychlo in the form of a podcast, which is complemented by Selma’s poems in Ukrainian and German recited by the participants of the group and literary critic Oksana Matiychuk. In the third part, they tried to immerse into the topic from the other perspective. «We were very inspired by Selma’s poetry», says one of the participants, Iryna Filipchuk. «That is why we have selected a few phrases from her poems to keep them alive, designed textiles (t-shirts, bags) and developed notebooks. All materials can be used free of charge by everyone or used in class». According to Olena Shalan, they «believe that in this way we will encourage the audience to learn more about the project».

One more project prepared by participants from Chernivtsi is in the form of a blog, in which they decided to show where to find information about ghetto and revealed all the research stages on this matter.



The participants from Grodno presented two microprojects: «Audio guide of the Grodno ghetto No. 1» and «Grodno ghetto in infographics».

Thanks to the audio guide, any citizen or tourist will be able to download or listen to online podcasts and independently walk through the places linked to the history of ghetto No. 1. There was also ghetto No. 2 in Grodno, but very little information left about it.

The audio guide’s route includes 12 stations: the synagogue, the gate to the ghetto, the site of a blown-up church where prisoners’ belongings were stored, the houses where Jews hid their treasures in a hope of returning to their hometown one day. All participants worked on the audio guide. Mikita Tsimakou narrated the tour in Russian, Ekaterina Dedushkina in English and Ales Radyukin Belarusian. German and Polish versions will be available soon.

Another result of the whole team’s work is seven infographics about the history of the ghetto. The basic facts about the life of Jews in the occupied Grodno are presented in a brief, accessible and meaningful way. The idea of the microproject is that the infographics can be printed as posters or handouts and used in schools for teaching about the Holocaust.

«Our participants impressed me with their ability to organize themselves, set deadlines on their own and work without external control. The audio guide and the infographics are completely their ideas. I had a slightly different vision of microprojects, but the students did not listen to me, and that was the right decision! I mainly helped them to do historical research», said Ales Radyuk, project coordinator in Grodno.