The exhibition, which is hosted by the Perm City Archives website, is dedicated to the 75th Anniversary of Victory, and is a joint project between Perm Archives and the twin cities of Oxford (United Kingdom) and Louisville (United States) – countries who were allies during the war years.
The exhibition has been put together by Perm City Archive jointly with Perm Krai State Archive and the City Administration’s Department for International and Inter-Municipal Links. You can visit the online exhibition here, where you can view rare photographs from the period, read wartime newspapers and magazines, and read the personal journals and documents of those involved in actual events.
World War II, which began 1 September 1939, was a difficult experience for the entire world. The materials in the online exhibition explain how, despite previous disagreements, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States fought together against Germany and its allies. Perm, Oxford and Louisville – later to become twin cities – were not in the combat zone, but every city has its wartime history. The exhibition depicts life on the home front in Soviet Molotov (as Perm was known during the war), and in Louisville and Oxford.
In Louisville, military-industrial output was expanded considerably with existing capacity repurposed, and US Armed Forces training took place in the city. Molotov did not escape the hardships of wartime. Tens of thousands of citizens went to the front, and many of them died or were unaccounted for. Dozens of enterprises, hundreds of thousands of people and many cultural institutions were evacuated to Perm. Perm set up hospitals for wounded servicemen, and the Molotov people who remained in the city overcame huge difficulties in completing their work tasks every day.
In Oxford, car factories were converted to producing military equipment including tanks and fighter aircraft, and penicillin was developed in the city. Many state institutions and schools were evacuated from London to Oxford.
According to Perm Archive Director, Viktor Novokreshchennykh, the twin cities from the former allied countries reacted enthusiastically to the idea of creating the exhibition when it was suggested last year. Now Permians can see the results of this joint effort and have an opportunity to learn something new.
“The exhibition was put together under the difficult situation of full lockdown. Contributions from the twin cities came from Sister Cities of Louisville, Inc., Archives & Special Collections Universityof Louisville, Oxford-Perm Association, Oxfordshire History Centre and Oxford City Council. This large-scale project has again demonstrated that the residents of our cities are united by a common history, and that they cherish and value the memories of war. The exhibition is yet more evidence that the twin city links which were born out of a destructive war are just as strong today, and that there is a solid foundation on which to build”, said Tatiana Grigorieva, from the Perm City Administration’s Department for International and Intermunicipal Links.