Towards the Light of Dawn – Heroes of the Soviet Union
The Jewish Museum Vienna presents the art installation “Towards the Light of Dawn” by Oz Almog. It resembles his latest two installations (“him too..??” and “Viennese en face”) in style, except that the artist did not paint the portraits himself this time, but uses historical documents of Jewish heroes of the Soviet Union instead.
Almog’s installation deals with the fact that in the Second World War, 1.5 million Jews fought with the Soviet Union and the Allies on the Russian Front, in Europe and Africa, at sea and in the air against the Nazi Germany. There were 500,000 Jews in the Red Army alone, of whom 200,000 died in battle. Thousands of Russian soldiers of Jewish origin showed their courage in the struggle against the German army, and around 160,000 of them received medals and awards for bravery. More than 150 of them received the highest decorations – the Golden Star and the honorary title “Hero of the Soviet Union”. During and after the war, anti-Semites in the Soviet Union would assert that Jews had not fought at the Front but had stayed in the background awaiting its outcome. The 150 or so biographies selected for this exhibition tell a different story.
The artist and curator Oz Almog uses the scant material at his disposal to create a bizarre installation full of pathos, underscored by dramatic lighting and floral decorations typically seen on war memorials. The result is a visual and acoustic panorama that captures the spirit of the time, a “hall of fame”, so to speak, of Jewish heroes.
Curator: Oz Almog