This year for the second time, Ukrainian-imaged souvenirs from Kharkiv are being presented at the Nuremberg Christmas Fair. The Fair, which started in early December, is one of the most spectacular and popular events in Germany.
Kharkiv has taken part in the local fair since 2004 as Nuremberg’s twin city. However, there were resounding image problems with the Kharkiv goods previously.
Only two years ago, December 2015, a scandal broke when the Nuremberg Christmas fair visitors found matryoshka dolls and other Russian-style souvenirs on the stand, arranged by Kharkiv representatives. This range of image goods, supplied before, was expected to be replaced by Ukrainian ones after the Revolution of Dignity that took place 2013-2014 and outbreak of war with Russia.
Both representatives of the Ukrainian Diaspora and German and international tourists, visiting the fair, expressed their indignation with the fact that symbols of the state, invading Ukraine, had been brought from Kharkiv, which is close to the war zone.
A group of German activists sent dozens of collective letters and appeals with hundreds of signatures to Nuremberg and Kharkiv authorities. Also, there were “countless individual letters, requiring Ukrainian-imaged souvenirs from Kharkiv,” says Olha Kotik, a Ukrainian guide and writer, who lives in Nuremberg.
In December 2016, the German activists were celebrating the victory. Not only because of an all-new Kharkiv exhibit stand but more importantly, organizers changed the range of goods, having brought bright Ukrainian souvenirs. They also presented art products, jewelry and ethnic clothes of high quality, which subsequently sold well.
This year, the same Kharkiv representatives headed by Iryna Trufanova, are exhibiting their art goods for the second time. “Almost everything is made in Kharkiv, the souvenirs are mostly handcrafted,” notes the sales-person proudly.
The visitors from different countries are buying Kharkiv embroidered shirts, ceramics, art souvenirs, bags and national drinks.
Nuremberg gave a spacious site for Kharkiv stand this year. The organizers state that trade is brisk and it will last for one more week until December 24, Christmas Eve.
Text: Olena Sokolynska
Photo: Iryna Trufanova