When the Jews who survived World War II in Soviet Ukraine returned to their homes, they found an even more totalitarian society.

In the wake of Nazi destruction, Stalin continued his project to build a new people. A people who had no identity aside from their Soviet identity. A people who observed only Soviet holidays, celebrated only Soviet heroes, and spoke only Russian. For the generation of Jews growing up after the war, this was all they knew.

Judaism was once again forbidden.

Told through first person accounts and never-before-seen archival footage, the film covers a neglected historical period in a little-understood region.

We meet seven individuals who share their experiences growing up in Soviet Ukraine. Some were raised as staunch Communists by patriotic parents; others were unaware of or encountered pressures to hide their Jewish identities. While their contrasting experiences paint a picture of a myriad Jewish experiences under Soviet rule, they all felt called to rediscover and reclaim their Jewish heritage after the Iron Curtain fell in 1991.

These “heroes of memory” work tirelessly to build homegrown Holocaust memorials, save neglected Jewish books and cemeteries, and restore a long-lost synagogue that was torched by the Nazis and then pillaged for building materials by the Soviets. By fanning these small flames back to life, these keepers and creators of Jewish Memory are reclaiming a tradition that has nearly been lost.