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Exhibit

Witness to War: Ukrainian Photographers React (Pop-Up Exhibit)

July 18th 2022 – August 26th 2022

At the Maine Jewish Museum, we celebrate and honor the contributions and diversity of Maine’s Jewish immigrants in the context of the American experience and world history… and there are undeniable parallels between the persecution that caused millions of Jews to flee to the USA (sometimes landing in Maine) and the atrocities now unfolding in Ukraine and creating an immigration and humanitarian crisis. We therefore felt compelled to do our part to document Putin’s war against Ukrainians through an exhibition of original photographs in the Museum.

Curator of Photography Nanci Kahn therefore contacted a Ukrainian friend and former Mainer who recently moved out of state. The friend agreed to post on her social media site, in her native Ukranian language, that the Maine Jewish Museum was seeking photographs of how the war was impacting the lives of ordinary citizens in their cities, towns, and villages. The response to her post was overwhelming. From the 75 photographs (both professional and non-professional) she forwarded to us, we selected 30 riveting images to hang ‘salon style’ on the first floor of the museum. These never-before-seen images are heartbreakingly beautiful and moving, and they make a critically important statement in today’s fraught times. In the words of Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

    • Witness to War: Ukrainians Speak About Ukraine

      August 21 2022 4-5pm

      In conjunction with the current MJM pop-up exhibit, “Witness to War: Ukrainian Photographers React,” we will hear about Ukraine from the vantage point of Ukrainians directly impacted by the Russian invasion. Ukrainian Mainer Oleg Opalnyk, whose tireless efforts on behalf of Ukrainain refugees in Maine have been celebrated in local and national media, will discuss how his Auburn rental property has become the unlikely hub of a DIY settlement operation. In addition, a recent Ukrainian refugee will describe their harrowing journey from Ukraine to Maine, which parallels the backstories of Maine Jewish immigrants in ways that are all-too familiar.