“Georgians in WWII” Exhibition Depicts Sacrifices Made to Defeat Fascism

The world this year the 70th anniversary of defeating Fascism in World War II. Like most nations in Europe, Georgia suffered heavy casualties in the fighting with a high proportion of the Soviet army made up of Georgians.

Across the world there have been numerous exhibits, documentaries and books depicting the lives of soldiers on the war’s various front. Now, the Georgian National Museum is presenting the exhibition “Georgians in WWII” to enlighten history and war enthusiasts of the conditions Georgian soldiers endured during the conflict.

The curator of the exhibition Vakhtang Tsintsadze told Georgia Today: “The same exhibition was on display in the 1950s and 1970s. However, this version comprises new pieces too, for instance: Stalin’s pipe and vase. There is also a memorial blackboard from Italy where there is a street named after Georgian partisans. We have the audio-visual and textual materials from the very start of the war, when it was beginning in Poland in 1939. We also showcase the flags of Georgian partisans in Italy and France, which represented the symbols for unity.”.

Visitors to the exhibition can also see the photos and other objects of Rusudan Zhordania, a female military pilot during the war from Abkhazia.

During the war, all men aged from 18 to 55 were conscripted into the armed forces. Female soldiers were not unknown either, while the female war effort in various roles including as nurses and in manufacturing weaponry was absolutely essential.

There are some pieces from different collectors, offering a diversity of perspectives on the conflict. There are materials from some Georgians who fought against the Soviets because they thought communism was no less a disaster than fascism. The majority of such people had initially fled Georgia following the Soviet takeover in 1921.

Some photos display how villages and public schools connected and sent churchkhela, wines, and other kinds of food to warriors. There is one very sad photo showing how a Svan mother sees off her son to war.

In the second hall, there is an exhibition of famous painters such as Elene Akhvlediani, Lado Gudiashvili, Zurab Tsereteli, and others. Andro Kandelaki was the only one who fought and painted simultaneously.

This is a bloody story of hundreds of thousands of civilians who suffered and lost their relatives, children, fathers, husbands and grandfathers and is an emotional, even heartbreaking account of an era that should never be forgotten, or repeated.

The exhibition is on until October.

Maka Lomadze

23 July 2015 22:49