Sholom Aleichem Museum

The master of Yiddish literature, Sholom Aleichem, is a prominent writer of the past whose works have stood the test of time and belong to the treasure trove of world culture.

“Sholom Aleichem” means “Peace to you”! It was this greeting that Sholom Rabinovich took as his name over a hundred years ago.  He became one of the most popular writers and in doing so, gave the greeting back to the Jewish people.

Many visitors wonder why the museum is located in the Arena City shopping mall (next to the Besarabskiy Market). The reason is that the house that Sholom Aleikhem lived in—which was built in the middle of the XIX century—was cynically destroyed in 2009. The time that he lived in that house was the most productive of Sholom Aleikhem’s literary career. There he wrote Menahem-Mendl (In A Little World of Little People), New Kasrylivka (The whole of Berdychiv), and other novels including Tevye the Milkman as well as dozens or perhaps hundreds of novellas and short stories.

The exposition of the museum is dedicated not only to the works of this outstanding Jewish author, poet, playwright and publicist, but also to the substantial cultural contribution of East European Jews who called Kyiv their home. In the many displays, you can find materials dedicated to Jewish architecture in Ukraine, the unique art of Jewish stonecutters—including striking tombstones or matzevas, fragments of the films based on the works of Sholom Aleichem, and historic Jewish books.   One can learn more about the «Beilis affair». This trial captured the attention of not only Russian, but also European society as a whole at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The main themes of the museum’s display are Sholom Aleichem, and Kyiv and Sholom Aleichem, and Ukraine. This is entirely logical, since Kyiv played such an important role in the writer’s life: this is where he developed as a person and a writer and where his work took shape. This is where he longed to be as a young man and as a well-known writer living beyond the borders of the Russian Empire.  Kyiv was also the place where he explicitly expressed in his will to be buried, next to his father, as he laid sick in bed in New York City.

“Kyiv is my city. Staying away from it makes me sad.”  Such was Sholom Aleichem’s response to a telegram from Kyiv on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his literary work (Italy, 1908).

Sholom Aleichem lived in Kyiv from 1887 to 1890 and again from 1893 to 1905. After the 1905 Jewish pogroms, he left with his family for Switzerland and then for Germany. In 1914, Sholom Aleichem departed from Germany as a Russian citizen for New York City, where he spent the last years of his life. In America, Sholom Aleichem missed his homeland and dreamed of returning with the first steam ship. However, this wish never materialized. An illness weakened his body and he was bedridden for a long time. Sholom Aleichem passed away on May 13, 1916. Thousands of people gathered in the streets to bid him farewell.

The doors of the Sholom Aleichem Museum in Kyiv are wide open for visitors!  Here you can also visit exhibitions of modern Jewish artists. There is also a little stage for concerts and performances.

The Sholom Aleichem Museum was opened in Kyiv in 2009, as a branch of the Kyiv History Museum.

Address:
Kyiv, 5 Velyka Vasylkivska Str.
(metro station “Khreshchatyk”, “Lva Tolstoho”)

Opening hours:

10.00-18.00 (ticket office until 17.30)
Monday – closed
Last Thursday of each month — closed

Order of excursions:
Tel: +380 (44) 235-17-34
E-mail: museum-shalom@ukr.net