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Slovakia Opens First-Ever Jewish Museum

The Jewish community in Bratislava has inaugurated a community-run Jewish museum in the women’s gallery of the only synagogue in the Slovak capital.

Officially opened this week, the museum displays Judaica and other items owned by the Jewish community or donated by individual members.

“It tells a story, our story, that dates back centuries,” Jewish community vice president Maros Borsky, who conceived and curated the museum, told JTA.

About 600 Jews live in Bratislava today. Converting the women’s gallery into a modern museum, Borsky said, was part of an overall long-term strategy to preserve and maintain the synagogue, which is still used by the community.

Exhibits include silver and other Judaica items collected after World War II by the late Eugen Barkany, as well as photographs, paintings, documents and other objects relating to Jewish life and history before, during and after the Holocaust. These include a decades-old bottle of locally produced kosher wine, a collection of postcards documenting the correspondence from the Communist era between Jews who remained in Bratislava and their relatives who had left after the Shoah, and items documenting the post-communist Jewish revival.

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