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Odessa to open second Jewish museum

(JTA) – Chabad activists in Odessa announced plans to build the city’s second Jewish museum.

Berl Kapulkin, a Chabad representative in Odessa, said the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center is scheduled to open soon on Deribasovskaya Street in the heart of Odessa’s old city, according to the news site Odeskaya Zhizni. The director will be Pavel Kozlenko, the former head of Odessa’s Holocaust Museum.

“Visitors will be able to look at the world through the eyes of Odessa Jews,” Kozlenko said.

In 1939, approximately 30 percent of Odessa’s 600,000 residents were Jewish, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Black Sea port city served as an important center for European Jewry and Zionist activism, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, but 99,000 Odessan Jews died in the Holocaust at the hands of the Nazis and their Romanian allies.

Today, the city has about 45,000 Jews, according to the European Jewish Congress.

Odessa’s Migdal Jewish Community Center opened a small Jewish museum in 2002. Run from an apartment of roughly 1,700 square feet, the Migdal Jewish museum is headed by historian Mikhail Rashkovetskiy and has some 7,000 items.

The Chabad-led Jewish community of Sevastopol, another Black Sea Ukrainian city, is expected to open a new, three-story synagogue later this year.

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