Jewish Cultural Heritage in the USSR and after Its Collapse

Vladimir Levin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The article discusses the fate of tangible Jewish heritage (synagogues, ritual objects, museums, cemeteries) in the USSR and after its collapse. It demonstrates that during the interwar period, the Soviet state addressed Jewish heritage in a manner similar to that of other ethnic and religious groups. After WWII, the approach also was ambiguous: along with enormous destruction, there were cases of state protection and even restauration. After the collapse of the USSR, those post-Soviet countries that chose the "European way" (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) began to see Jewish monuments as part of their history and culture and to invest in their restoration. The rest of post-Soviet countries perceive Jewish monuments as "theirs," belonging to Jews, who are entitled to deal with them, and not as an integral part of local history and culture that should be preserved for the benefit of the entire population.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationBecoming Post- Communist
Subtitle of host publicationJews And The New Political Cultures Of Russia And Eastern Europe: Studies In Contemporary Jewry An Annual XXXIII
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9780197687215
ISBN (Print)9780197687215
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2023. All rights reserved.


  • Eastern Europe
  • Jewish cemetery
  • Jewish heritage
  • Jewish history
  • Jewish museum
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Russia
  • USSR
  • Ukraine
  • former Soviet Union
  • ritual objects
  • synagogue


Dive into the research topics of 'Jewish Cultural Heritage in the USSR and after Its Collapse'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this