Images of war

The photo ’Remains of a piano in ruins’ will be shown in the new exh
The photo ’Remains of a piano in ruins’ will be shown in the new exhibition. Image: Valentyn Bobyr

They show shot-up houses, destroyed war equipment, people crowded around a makeshift water pipe: The photos document everyday life in a war that has been raging for three years since Russia invaded Ukraine. They are images from Chernihiv, a city north-east of Kiev, which was besieged by the Russian army for 38 days at the beginning of the war. After the Russians withdrew at the end of March 2022, over 700 civilians were killed in Chernihiv, along with massive destruction of the infrastructure, destroyed roads, schools and libraries. On 6 March, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky awarded the city the title of "Hero City of Ukraine" - an accolade that had already been awarded to the cities of Volnovaha, Gostomel, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Kherson. Pictures from Chernihiv are now on display at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. The exhibition "Report from the besieged city of Chernihiv" can be seen from 4 to 19 April at the Abbe Campus, in the foyer of Carl-Zeiß-Straße 3. Admission is free of charge.

Chernihiv was a magnet for visitors before the war

The exhibition features images by the physicist and photographer Valentyn Bobyr, complemented by texts by the journalist Vladyslav Savenok. Both men are closely associated with Chernihiv. They document the massive destruction in the historic city, whose beginnings date back to Kievan Rus. Chernihiv has around 300,000 inhabitants, and before the war the city was a tourist magnet due to its numerous medieval religious buildings.

The "Report from the besieged city of Chernihiv" was made available to the Institute of History in Warsaw by the Ukrainian historian Dr Volodymur Pylypenko and shown there for the first time. The exhibition was brought to Jena by the Aleksander Brückner Centre of the University of Jena together with the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena. At the opening of the exhibition on Thursday, 4 April at 4 pm, the Eastern European historian Joachim von Puttkamer will give introductory remarks, and Tetyana Yarosh, representing the initiative "Ukrainians Yeni" (Ukrainians in Jena), will also speak. Coffee and Ukrainian pastries will be served for a small donation. Guests are welcome.