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Odessa Sights

Jewish Museum


Odessa is a city that was influenced by Jewish culture a whole lot. It was the most attractive town for Jews in the Russian Empire, a safe heaven where they could do business, live anywhere, build synagogues and live a normal life without suffering from antisemitism so much as they did elsewhere in Russia. It would be a mistake to say that Odessa was free from it — it was not, there were even pogroms (described in Babel’s stories), yet everything is a matter of comparison… Figures prove it the best. The share of Jews in Odessa was between 30 and 40% up to the Second World War! It was the town with the second biggest Jewish community in the Russian Empire after Warsaw and the third world biggest one (New York was the first).

Unfortunately, the share is much lower now. Probably less than 5%. First the Nazis killed the Jews who had not been able to escape before Russian troops left Odessa in 1941. Before the war there had been 100,000 Jews in Odessa. There were only 600 in the liberated town in 1944. From the 1970s Jews have been leaving Odessa mainly for Israel, the USA and Germany.

Yet the Jewish heritage is still strong in Odessa and is its main feature. It would not be an exaggeration to claim that the Jews were the determining factor in Odessa development and becoming a unique and rich city, famous all over Russia and the FSU. Odessa way of speaking is often mimicked in modern soaps about Odessa, Odessa jokes are repeated everywhere. Odessa cooking is wide-spread. No need to mention Odessa beauties — the mixture of Russian and Jewish blood makes something few men can ignore. Odessa entrepreneurial spirit is unique for the FSU and similar to American one. A popular saying invented in Odessa reads: any whim for your money. It is like 'customer is king'. Another saying: who is not a Jew in Odessa? is probably not too far from the truth.

The museum was opened in 2002. It occupies a former apartment which is furnished like a real apartment. There is a piece of furniture that used to belong to Babel. The museums is small but interesting. It is not easy to spot from the street as it is deep in the courtyard but there is a door bell in the street.





Monday through Thursday: 12:30-19:00, Sunday: 10:30-16:00.

Administration Telephones

+38 048 7289743.



Street Address

66 Nejinskaya Street, 65045 Odessa, Ukraine.

Geographical Positions

E30°43'48.65" N46°28'48.36" (E30.730181° N46.4801°).


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