Animated film about a Ukrainian forced laborer

In a new, fifth animated film, which is accompanied by a web story, we tell the story of the Ukrainian national Zakhariy Kistechok. He was deported to Bavaria for forced labor where he died under unclear circumstances.

One among millions of civilian forced laborers

Zakhariy Kistechok was born in Smolyn in Galicia, Western Ukraine, in February 1911. We do not know much about his life before the Second World War broke out. Zakhariy was one among more than two million Ukrainians whom the Germans deported for forced civilian labor. He had to work in agriculture in Bavaria and was not allowed to move freely without permission. He died in hospital in Wasserburg on Inn on March 31, 1944. It is impossible to clarify his cause of death today.

Based on documents such as Zakhariy’s work book, we tell his story

In 1950, Zakhariy’s wallet was discovered with photos and documents, among them letters to his half-brother Mykhailo, which we were able to return to Mykhailo’s daughter Lidija in 2019. The keepsakes mean much to her. She wished her father had received them in his lifetime.

Premiere at the Human Rights Film Festival

Last fall, we published the short film about Zakhariy, which was produced by the Berlin agency Goldener Westen. The film premiered at the Human Rights Festival in Berlin on October 19 – as intro film of the documentation “Fritz Bauer’s Legacy”. Our employee Hanna Lehun took part in the event, spoke about the culture of remembrance, the importance of our archives, and the current situation in Ukraine.

Meanwhile the web story about Zakhariy‘s life has gone online on our #StolenMemory website which – next to German – is available in English, Polish and Ukrainian.

Web story about Zakhariy

Traveling exhibition in Ukrainian

With the #StolenMemory campaign, we aim to return the personal objects owned by Nazi victims and preserved in our archives to their rightful owners. An accompanying traveling exhibition helps to track down the victims’ descendants.

Many of the so-called personal effects were owned by Ukrainian nationals, as was the case with Zakhariy. That is why our original plans supported by the German Foreign Ministry had been for our traveling exhibition to tour Ukraine and Poland in 2023 and 2024 considering the success the tour through Poland had had in 2022. Russia’s war of aggression thwarted our plans, though. In compensation, we show the exhibition in various towns in Poland where many Ukrainians found refuge since the war began. Servicing them, we have translated the contents of the exhibition and the #StolenMemory website into Ukrainian.

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