24.02.2023 Events, Film, History

‘Erase the Nation’ Film Screening at the Ukrainian Institute of America

‘Erase the Nation’
– a profoundly moving documentary on the Russian crimes against Ukraine’s cultural heritage

Film Screening
Friday, February 24 at 3pm ET

Ukrainian Institute of America
2 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075

Ukraine had over 5,000 museums, 65 historical-cultural reserves, and about 170,000 monuments before the war, including seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. During the nine months of the war, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine registered over 800 instances of Ukraine’s cultural heritage destruction perpetrated by the Russian military forces. This number is growing by the day and still does not account for all the affected areas or the scale of the destruction. 

Attacks on cultural heritage sites or the looting of Ukrainian museum collections violate international law. Now, as never before, Ukrainians and the cultural heritage in Ukraine need the support and assistance of the entire world community. The film intends to send a message to organisations and the international community to depict the scale and cruelty of the destruction committed there. 

The documentary film ‘Erase the Nation,’ directed by Tomasz Grzywaczewski, shows the destruction of Ukraine’s cultural heritage, having been carried out by the Russian Federation’s troops since 24 February 2022. The film shows the deliberate destruction of Ukrainian monuments from Lviv, Chernivtsi, Ivankiv, Kyiv, and Kharkiv to Izium and Bohorodychy in eastern Ukraine. The crimes committed against secular and religious cultural heritage, from archaeological monuments to modern libraries and schools. Testimonies by Ukrainian cultural representatives paint a picture of a deliberate struggle of barbaric invaders against Ukrainian identity, for which Ukrainian heroes are giving their lives.

– We used to have a beautiful and rich exhibition. The Russians are destroying essential items. The attack on the Skovoroda museum was intended to destroy the greatness of our spirit. It was intended to erase the identity of our nation. A rocket flew from the north and hit the fuel supply. Then everything caught fire. The ceiling was on fire. It was like hell here, but amidst this hell, the monument to Hryhoriy Skovoroda has persevered, which is very significant and symbolic,” says one of the documentary’s characters, Hanna Yarmish of the National H. S. Skovoroda Memorial Museum.

The film also presents ways of securing and attempting to protect damaged sites and the scale of assistance that is and will be needed to protect and restore cultural heritage in Ukraine.

The National Institute of Cultural Heritage has been participating in the protection of Ukraine’s cultural heritage since the beginning of the Russian aggression. By the decision of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Support Center for Culture in Ukraine, which is the primary coordinator of governmental assistance to the cultural sector, operates within the structure of the National Institute. The Center coordinates (Polish and foreign) initiatives to save Ukraine’s cultural resources and conducts information and educational activities about Ukrainian cultural heritage, particularly the threats and losses caused by warfare.

Tomasz Grzywaczewski – journalist and author of books, film scripts, and academic publications on international relations. He has reported on armed conflicts in the Donbas, Turkish Kurdistan, Nagorno-Karabakh, and currently, Ukraine.

The film, ‘Erase the Nation,’ will be available on the NID TV channel on YouTube. 

The film was commissioned by the National Institute of Cultural Heritage within the framework of activities of the Support Center for Culture in Ukraine. It was financed from funds from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

The Support Center for Culture in Ukraine is a unit of the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, established by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage as the primary coordinator of governmental assistance to the cultural sector in Ukraine. The Institute’s experience and long-standing Polish-Ukrainian cooperation have provided grounds for effective support of Ukraine’s cultural heritage since the first day of the war. The Center coordinates domestic and foreign initiatives to save Ukraine’s cultural resources. It conducts information and education activities to highlight Ukrainian cultural heritage, particularly the threats, and losses caused by the hostilities. It cooperates with Polish cultural institutions, museums, state archives and libraries, conservationists, and other institutions. The Institute supports Ukraine in front of international institutions, mainly by providing information and evidence of the deliberate destruction of Ukrainian cultural property. In cooperation with UNESCO and other international organisations, the National Institute also initiates new projects to support the protection of Ukrainian cultural heritage.

The National Institute of Cultural Heritage has been collecting, studying and disseminating knowledge on the tangible and intangible heritage situated within the territory of Poland for 60 years. It produces opinions, expert reports, research papers, and studies, as well as develops art conservation standards. It finds modern and comprehensive methods to share information on Polish monuments of culture. The portal zabytek.pl contains descriptions of monuments, documentation, archival and current photos of the sites, 3D models, and numerous other resources. The Institute organises events promoting cultural heritage and actively participates in the work of international organisations such as UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICCROM, and the United Nations. It is a nationwide coordinator of international events such as the European Heritage Days and the European Archaeology Days.

More information on: nid.pl

Unbreakable Spirit: Commemorating One Year of Ukraine’s Resilience & Resistance
Open House
Friday, February 24, 2023
at 12-6pm ET, programming 4-6pm ET

Ukrainian Institute of America
2 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075

This event is recommended by the Polish Cultural Institute New York.


🪟 “Window on Ukraine” [First Floor]

  • “The Pysanka: A Symbol of Hope” – an installation of more than 500 eggs from around the world, a reaction to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022
  • Sofika Zielyk, ethnographer and curator of the installation, will be on hand to discuss the history of the pysanka tradition and the origins of the project
  • Ukrainian Bookstore – a selection of fiction and non-fiction books available for purchase

🎼 Concert Hall [Second Floor] 

  • Exhibition of contemporary Ukrainian paintings, as part of the ‘We and the World’ initiative, sponsored by the Kozytskiy Charity Foundation
  • Greetings and Conversations [4-6PM]

🕯️ Chandelier Room [Second Floor]

  • Exhibition of contemporary Ukrainian paintings, as part of the ‘We and the World’ initiative, sponsored by the Kozytskiy Charity Foundation
  • Short films and documentaries (12-4PM; schedule under development)
  • Conversations with experts on various topics related to the war in Ukraine (schedule tbd)

📚 Library [Third Floor]

  • Healing Space – an installation of ‘motanky’ sculptures, ancient talismans for healing and protection, with artist Ola Rondiak

☀️ East Room [Third Floor]

  • “Lives Cut Short” – a print and video tribute to fallen artists, representing all those who were not part of the professional military who have lost their lives because of the war

PROGRAM [4-6 pm] subject to change

🎤 Session 1 [4:00 – 4:45pm]

  • Welcome – Kathy Nalywajko, President, Ukrainian Institute of America
  • Greetings from Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukrainian MP and Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Integration of Ukraine to the EU, from Kyiv
  • Greetings from Evelyn Farkas, American national security advisor, author, and foreign policy analyst
  • Conversation with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, co-chair of the Ukraine Caucus, with Adrian Karatnycky, senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center

🎤 Session 2 [5:00 – 5:45pm]

  • Opening remarks by Mr Urmas Reinsalu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
  • Conversation with Ukrainian female former prisoners of war, with Taisa Markus, former Partner, White & Case LLP
  • Closing remarks by special guest and friend of Ukraine

Scheduled Events Film History