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Three Lines in History
'The Zionist Youth', 'Akiva' movements
1928–1948
 
 
 
 

The exhibition is devoted to the members of the Zionost youth movement that coalescing Europe during the Holocaust. Opened in April 2008.

The exhibition recounts the stories of the youth-movement members, focusing on two movements—Hanoar Hazioni and Akiva—and is based on exhibits, graphic art, documents, letters, and photos from the Massuah Archive.


The exhibition has four parts:

“The Chapter”—devoted to the movements’ formative years (1928–1939). This part describes the all-embracing and optimistic reality that the youth movements offered their members: worldview, behavior patterns, social belonging, symbols, cultural heroes, and social and national challenges. It describes the members’ self-perception as pioneers who show the way, an avant garde participating in the historic moment of bringing a nation and a new society into being.

The gallery, designed to resemble a typical chapter house of a Zionist youth movement, displays letters that were sent to Palestine, personal diaries, and group journals and articles written by members in movement bulletins. It also has a video presentation based on pictures, diary excerpts, letters, and minutes of movement meetings from various locations and years, all culled from the Massuah Archive. The contents are set to music by the Shek-Teck ensemble, which also made new recordings of several youth-movement songs that accompany the presentation.


Facing Extermination” (1939–1945)—Part 2 of the exhibition focuses on the war era and recounts the various patterns of resistance and uprising that youth-movement members displayed as transports were setting out to the extermination camps.

The presentation in this part of the exhibition is based on eleven video testimonies that are screened in a dark room. Each of the witnesses—members of Hanoar Hazioni or Akiva—retells an event that was central in his or her movement’s activity during the Holocaust. The testimonies are shown against the background of excerpts from “Justina’s Diary” and a wall graffito sketched in white chalk.


“Destination: Eretz Israel” (1945 –1948) - Part 3 tracks follows the activities of the Zionist youth-movement members after the war. Now men and women in their twenties, overnight and spontaneously they have become leaders who guide thousands of Holocaust survivors along the routes of the Bricha (escape from Europe) and the Ha’apala (clandestine immigration to Palestine). On display are personal artifacts of youth-movement members who were involved in the Bricha project: photos, pieces of clothing, and miscellaneous items that substantiate these young people’s sense of being participants in a great historical moment. This sense gave them strength and enabled them to postpone, for the duration, the working through of their personal grief so that they could devote themselves to the national cause and organize the Holocaust survivors for their journey to the Land of Israel.


“Our Unity is Our Strength” - Part 4 shows how public opinion in the pre-Israel Jewish community of Palestine was mobilized in support of the struggle of the ma’apilim (clandestine immigrants). The mobilization of public opinion was engineered by posters that the Municipality of Tel Aviv put up around the city. The posters belong to a collection gathered by the late Yehiel Sedroni, a Tel Aviv municipal employee who helped to paste them up. The collection is kept in the Massuah Archive.

 

Photo Gallery
470 members of zionist youth movements,most of them from 'HaNoar HaZioni' and Akiva' left the Constanza port in Romania on April 1939
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