Jewish Heritage Europe

Ukrainian Shtetls exhibit, Photographs by Eugeny Kotlyar

June 21, 2024 – August 30, 2024 all-day
Fordham University
441 E Fordham Rd
Bronx, NY 10458
Ukrainian Shtetls exhibit, Photographs by Eugeny Kotlyar @ Fordham University | New York | United States

The Ukrainian Shtetl: Homecoming to Places of Strength—Photographic Travels by Eugeny Kotlyar

The memory of the traditional world of Jewish small towns in Eastern Europe has been slowly disappearing since the beginning of the last century. “The shtetl,” a small town, is both a real and imagined place in Jewish history and memory. The world of “the shtetl” lasted for more than five centuries. It belonged to many Eastern European countries as the region’s political boundaries shifted from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to the Russian Empire and its Pale of Jewish Settlement. This world experienced the hardest shocks of wars, pogroms, evictions of Jews, and socio-political and economic upheavals, and always tried to adapt to the new life. But its life was cut short first by World War I and the October Revolution, and then, ultimately, by the Holocaust.

In this exhibit, Eugeny Kotlyar explores the meaning of the sites formerly thriving with Jewish life. He seeks to capture the feeling of the still-vanishing world of the shtetl through the stylization of photographs in black-and-white and poetic montages that mix history, memory, nostalgia, and a reality now unfolding.