History of the museum

 

The idea of ​​creating a Ukrainian museum dedicated to civilian victims, a kind of a center for international meetings and a territory for communication between representatives of different generations, first came to an old artist of the Krolevets Weaving Factory, Ivan Dudar, and German teacher from Liebenau, Martin Guse.

Ivan Dudar sought documentary evidence of his forced labor at the Nazi Eibia GmbH powder factory near the villages of Steyerberg and Liebenau. In the early 2000s, he wrote to the burgomasters of these villages in Lower Saxony. Martin Guse wanted to explore the history of this military enterprise that operated near his home village until the early 1990s.

Their friendship and genuine belief that sharing a tragic past helps build a common future united many people in Ukraine and Germany who have been able to raise the funds and bring the cause of the creation of a museum to a successful conclusion.

During 2005–2011, the Documentation Centre Powder Factory Liebenau (executive director – Martin Guse) conducted an intensive search for witnesses and documents in the archives of Germany and Ukraine.

In 2012, Mayor of Shostka Mykola Noga supported the idea of placing materials collected by Martin Guse in the local Museum of Local History. The working group included museum staff and employees of the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning of Shostka, as well as the International Foundation Mutual Understanding and Tolerance and the NASU Institute of History of Ukraine. After Anatoliy Gaydamak, acclaimed Ukrainian artist, joined the working group in 2013, the project received a new push to create a separate museum. The working group opted for the former administrative building of the Svema plant next to the burial place of Nazi victims, mainly Jews and Soviet activists.

Recorded biographical interviews with former forced workers show that these people were persecuted not only by the Nazi Germany. This prompted the creators of the museum to collect materials on Stalin’s repressions, the little-known events of the Nazi occupation, the post-war fates of former Ostarbeiters and prisoners of war. Local museums, teachers, and simple Shostka residents who cared, actively joined in the search for exhibits for the new museum. The funding by the German Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future provided the opportunity to embody the artistic and scientific concept of the exhibition. On October 15, 2015, the inaugural ceremony for the Family Memory Memorial and Educational Complex for Victims of Totalitarianism and Armed Conflicts was held.