Ternopil’s Museum of Repression

The Museum of Repression in Ternopil, Ukraine is a monument to a catastrophic history too often forgotten and ignored. The museum is a converted jail. People were tortured and executed there. For many, it was their first stop en route concentration camps in Siberia.

This was the case for the now-82-year-old director, Ihor Oleshchuk, who provides a personal tour. He was sentenced to 25 years, but returned after eight under Krushchev’s general amnesty. The cell in which he was held is now a chapel.

Some documentarians needs to go there and film his tour, then let him speak to the camera for several hours.

Ternopil Museum of Repression

Ternopil Museum of Repression

The museum includes models of actual hideouts used by the Ukrainian Partisan’s during WWII.

Ternopil Museum of Repression

Roman Shukhevych spent the winter of ’44-’45 at this hideout:
Ternopil Museum of Repression

The proud, resilient museum director:

Ternopil Museum of Repression

The museum director in Siberia:

Ternopil Museum of Repression

Made in the Gulag — handkerchiefs depicting angels, and a bread-and-dirt rosary which, amazingly, has survived 60+ years.

Ternopil Museum of Repression

If I understood correctly, this is a stained glass mosaic artists executed in the 1960s after she began adopting nationalistic themes:

Ternopil Museum of Repression

She was one of many executed cultural figures:

Ternopil Museum of Repression

The museum director’s former cell is now a chapel.

Ternopil Museum of Repression

Visiting the museum was a very moving experience. The director’s first hand accounts and breadth of knowledge and passion contributed greatly to the experience. I really wish someone would film this place, as the director, though seemingly in excellent health, is over eighty years old.

The only thing I didn’t like was one room toward the end devoted a little too strongly to idolizing Stephan Bandera. The room was pretty much an altar. Too much for any mortal.

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