Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland
The idea to create a Museum of the History of Polish Jews emerged at the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute and soon secured support both in Poland and abroad. Owing to the generous help of individual and institutional donors from all across the globe, the works on a project of the Museum had commenced in 1995 and were continued – as a social initiative – until 2005, when the Museum of the History of Polish Jews was formally instituted under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski.
Thanks to financial support received mainly from private donors as well as foundations from the United States, Germany, Great Britain and Poland, the final project of the future Museum was completed and a unique documentation on Polish Judaica both in Poland and abroad was collected. A broad international network of the Museum supporters was established, crucial for obtaining funds necessary to design and produce the core exhibition.
POLIN Museum is the first public-private partnership in Poland, created jointly by the government, the local government and a non-governmental organization. Under a tripartite agreement signed on 25 January 2005 by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the Mayor of Warsaw and the Chairman of the Association of the JHI, the public party financed, i.a., the construction of the building and its equipment. The Association of the JHI was responsible for financing and organizing the process of producing the core exhibition (for more details go to: Public-private partnership).
POLIN Museum is a modern cultural institution – a narrative museum which presents a 1000-year history of Polish Jews. It is also a place for meetings and dialogue for all those eager to learn more about the past and present Jewish culture, to confront the stereotypes and to face the perils of today’s world such as xenophobia and nationalistic prejudices. By promoting openness, tolerance and truth, POLIN Museum contributes to the mutual understanding and respect amongst Poles and Jews.
Jerzy Halbersztadt, the first Director of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, played a major role in its creation. From 1999 to 2011, he oversaw all of the Association’s work in creating the Museum, initially as Project Director and then as the Association’s Coordinator for the Museum, and in the years 2006-2011 as the Museum’s first director. He was succeeded by Agnieszka Rudzińska, who was the Museum’s Acting Director until June 2012. Andrzej Cudak was then appointed the Museum Director, to be succeeded by the present Director, Professor Dariusz Stola.
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