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Opening Hours:

Sunday to Wednesday: 09:00-17:00
Thursday: 9:00-20:00 *
Fridays and Holiday eves: 09:00-14:00.

Yad Vashem is closed on Saturdays and all Jewish Holidays.

* The Holocaust History Museum, Museum of Holocaust Art, Exhibitions Pavilion and Synagogue are open until 20:00. All other sites close at 17:00.

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Lev Ovsishcher's Memoir

In his memoirs Ovsishcher conveyed the antisemitic atmosphere that prevailed among some of his fellow officers during the Soviet "fight against cosmopolitanism" in 1948 and 1949. He described the disillusionment and pain that was felt by many Jewish officers who had fought against Nazism during the war. Some of these Jews had encountered antisemitism in the army and in the rear during the war itself; others had not. However, both groups noted how within a short time after the war previously existent anti-Jewish prejudices were reflected in official policy that was widely supported by the public, including those in uniform. Ovsishcher wrote:

"Once a lecturer from the Central Committee of the Communist Party came to the [military] academy to lecture on the burning topic of the day: 'The class and reactionary essence of cosmopolitanism'…. The hall was packed so full that people couldn't get in. People wanted to understand the meaning of what was going on….

An officer asked the lecturer the following question: 'Why are all the cosmopolitans Jews?'

The answer was as follows: 'The Jews, as a result of their ethnic qualities, of centuries of their way of life, and also of the historical conditions under which they lived cannot love our Homeland the way we Russians do!...'

On the second or third day after this I entered the dining hall to eat and sat down at a table where three places were already occupied by members of my class. They were talking about cosmopolitanism. Suddenly Hero of the Soviet Union Vasilenko, who was sitting opposite me, looked at me viciously and said:

'Where were they during the war when we were spilling our blood? And now so many of them have shown up at the academy!,' nodding in my direction…

I was taken aback. 'Do you mean me?' I asked with a quiver in my voice.

'All of you' was the sharp reply.

Those words struck me like a whip. Due to my surprise and the pain in my heart for some time I couldn't say a word. I had never heard such a thing. Barely able to control myself, I said quietly:

'At the front I fought no worse and, perhaps better than others and I know that my contribution to our shared victory was not less than yours even though you are a Hero [of the Soviet Union] while I was only awarded several decorations. But I also know that every one of my honors is worth more than your Star [as Hero of the Soviet Union] because, due to such antisemites like you, it was harder to earn. It's too bad that you learned nothing from the recent war except for the propaganda of Goebbels. That is understandable because it quite suits you.'

My opponent raged and used expressions that were insufferable. A flood of insults and antisemitic curses were directed at me.

I looked at the fellows sitting next to us, hoping that they would interfere and somehow try to make that hooligan see reason, but they said nothing….

The following day, at my request there took place a meeting of the Party bureau of our course…. Unfortunately, the incident was declared a simple argument 'in which both parties lacked restraint….'"

From Lev Ovsishcher, Vozvrashchenie (Return), Jerusalem, pp. 123-124.