"My wish is to live in Israel. It is my dream… Let me go!"
Jews of Struggle: The Jewish National Movement in the USSR, 1967–1989, displayed at Beit Hatfutsot in 2007-8 to mark the birth of the Jewish national movement in the Former Soviet Union. This event was prompted by the Six-Day War. The outcome of that epic week provided a tremendous impetus to the Zionism of Jews in the Soviet Union and catalyzed their demand for the right to immigrate to Israel and later for free emigration and the ability to maintain Jewish life in the Soviet Union itself.
"The Jews of Struggle" provides an overview of Jewish national activity in the USSR between 1967 and 1989 and of the international support it received from Israel and world Jewry. Initially the movement was relevant for only a small segment of Soviet Jewry and for the State of Israel, which has always promoted aliya. Soon, however the struggle waged by Soviet Jews captured headlines throughout the Jewish world and subsequently caught the attention of various Jewish and non-Jewish organizations, public figures, and statesmen, who considered the Soviets’ Jewish policy to be a violation of basic human rights such as freedom of migration, the freedom to study one’s own language, culture, and heritage, and freedom of religion.
The Soviet persecution of movement activists reinforced Western opposition to the totalitarian regime in the USSR and increased sympathy for the movement. The international campaign on behalf of Soviet Jewry, waged by Jewish organizations in North America, Britain, the Continent, and elsewhere, had a tremendous impact on Jews worldwide and significantly enhanced their sense of Jewish peoplehood.
The exhibition includes photographs, posters, documents, and publications, including original Samizdat (clandestine) publications; objects; and art, music, and films by and about activists.
The concept for the exhibition was initiated by the Remember and Save Association in Israel, which was established by former Refuseniks and activists of the Jewish Aliya movement in the USSR.