On the site of the former Warsaw ghetto now stands a formidable reminder of brutally halted centuries of Jewish history in Poland: POLIN, of copper, concrete and glass, a brand-new museum dedicated to portraying the long and seldom peaceful existence of Jews in Poland. Culture.pl has put together a comprehensive series of articles, interviews, biographical features to provide all necessary information on this crucial event. We are also proud to present our exclusive virtual visit to the Museum itself, for those unable to attend the much awaited opening of the permanent exhibition on 28 October 2014.


The Museum's significant location, coupled with its proximity to the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, demanded extreme thoughtfulness on the part of the building’s designers, who carefully crafted a structure that has become a symbol of the new face of Warsaw. The design by the Finnish studio Lahdelma & Mahlamäki was selected in an international competition. 

Mahlamäki has said that he was greatly affected by the images of the district taken from the air after the war, with the Saint Augustine Church rising out of the ruins.

The central piece of the Polin Museum is the reconstructed wooden synagogue from Gwoździec (present-day Ukraine). Its hand-painted ceiling is part of the Jewish Town gallery, while the roof can bee seen from the main hall of the Museum.



The Superbrands award presentation Gala, 2015, Warsaw. From left: Paweł Potoroczyn (director of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute), Agnieszka Rudzińska, Andrzej Cudak (former directors of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews) and the current director, professor Dariusz Stola, photo: Kuba Kiljan (Kuznia Zdjec)

The fourth edition of the Culture.pl Superbrands award was presented to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The award has been established by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in collaboration with Superbrands Poland, with the aim of recognising artists as well as cultural institutions that are the most effective in ensuring the presence of Polish culture abroad. Read more about: POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews wins the Culture.pl Superbrands Award

The Polin Museum is located in the Muranów district, an area which was before WW2 the heart of Jewish Warsaw

The Polin Museum located in what was once the heart of the Jewish Warsaw presents a thousand year history of Polish Jews. Learn more about the location, building, and the exhibition, which opened on October 28, 2014 Read more about: Polin Museum: Idea, Architecture and Activities

Tad Taube, biggest donor of the new Polin Museum in Warsaw, talks about his early days in Poland, interrupted film career in Hollywood, and the difference between good and bad philanthropy. He also explains why the Polin Museum was one of his easiest philanthropic decisions. Read more about: Repairing the World: An Interview with Tad Taube

Museum of the History of Polish Jews, main hall, photo: courtesy of the Museum.

The reactions were positive, but raising the funds was a battle - says Marian Turski of the Jewish Historical Institute. Read more about: Filling Up the Great Emptiness: An Interview with Marian Turski

View of the main exhibition, Polin Museum, photo: Magda Starowieyska

Following 20 years of exhaustive works, preparation and fund raising, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews is unlocking its doors. We will we discover on the inside? What does the main exhibition have to say about Polish-Jewish history? Read more about: A Virtual Visit to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews starts their artistic residencies programme - “Open Museum – Education in Action”. For this programme, the museum hosts Polish and foreign artists whose works deal with the themes of Jewish heritage and multiculturalism. Read more about: Open Museum – A Programme of Artistic Residencies

A new wave of architects in Poland are coming up with novel ways to use traditional building components, whether it's sturdy steel and concrete or the ergonomic allure of wood. Culture.pl presents the most exciting projects and award winners of the past year. Read more about: Concrete, Steel & Wood - Architecture Review 2013


Rejzl Żychlińska, archival photo

A poet writing in Yiddish. She was born on the 27th of July 1919 in Gąbin, Mazovia, and died on the 13th of June 2001 in Concord in the USA. Read more about: Reyzl Zhikhlinski

From left: Joseph Opatoshu, Halper Lejwik, Borys Kleckin, Zelig Malamud, Nachman Meisel, Warsaw1925, photo: Jewish Historical Institute

Joseph Opatoshu was a Polish-born Yiddish-language novelist and short-story writer. He was born Josef Mair Opatowski on Christmas Eve in 1886, in Stupski Las, near Mława. Read more about: Joseph Opatoshu (Josef Meir Opatowski)

Helena Czernek, photo: Aleksander Prugar

Helena Czernek is an artist working in graphic and product design, photography, and sketches. She was born in Warsaw in 1985. Read more about: Helena Czernek

Yitskhok Leybush Peretz, photo: www.yivoencyclopedia.org

Peretz was a writer, social activist, and a leading figure among the authors of Yiddish literature in Poland. Read more about: Yitskhok Leybush Peretz

Władysław Szlengel – poet, journalist, stage actor. Born in 1914 in Warsaw. Polish-writing author, called the "chronicler of the sinking", died during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Read more about: Władysław Szlengel

Gela Seksztajn, photo courtesy of the Jewish Historical Institute

Gela Seksztajn, painter, born in 1907 in Warsaw, died probably during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Read more about: Gela Seksztajn

Icchak Katzenelson (1886-1944), poet, teacher, author of plays writing in both Yiddish and Hebrew, author of the famous poem Song of the Murdered Jewish People, perished in Auschwitz in May 1944. Read more about: Itzhak Katzenelson

Wiera Gran, photo: East News

The singer took the wartime stage as a young woman in the cabarets of the ghetto, singing of love and hope at the legendary Café Sztuka. She died in November 2007 in Paris. Read more about: Wiera Gran

Janusz Korczak with his pupils, DS Różyczka, Wawer, 1938, photo courtesy of the Korczakianum Centre for Documentation and Research in Warsaw

Physician, pedagogue, writer, journalist and social activist. Born as Henryk Goldszmit on the 22nd of July 1878 or 1879 in Warsaw, died on the 6th of August 1942 in Treblinka. Read more about: Janusz Korczak

Featured Articles on Jewish Culture

Artists of the Warsaw Ghetto, collage of photographs, photo: Culture.pl

Władysław Szpilman, Wiera Gran, Władysław Szlengel, Gela Seksztajn... Famous and cherished before the war, they sang, wrote, composed and painted. They spoke Yiddish and Polish. During World War II, imprisoned in the Warsaw ghetto, they never stopped being artists. Read more about: Remembering the Artists of the Warsaw Ghetto

The legend about a romantic relationship between king Casimir and the Jewish girl Esther was very popular among Polish Jews, Photo: A painting by Władyysław Łuszkiewicz, Casimir the Great Visiting Esther, from the collection of Lviv National Art Gallery; Source: CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

History is made of controversies. And Polish history in particular. Here are 15 peculiar facts from Poland’s past that really make Poland stand out and may also help explain the country’s unique place in the world. Read more about: 15 Historical Quirks That Make Poland So Different from the Rest of Europe

Roman Vishniac has long been considered the author of the most iconic images of pre-WW2 Jewish life in Eastern Europe. A new monographic exhibition opening in Warsaw shows him as a much more versatile and accomplished author – and sheds new light on the photos he’s most famous for. Read more about: Roman Vishniac: Remembering the Shtetl, Forgetting the Avant-garde

The most famous golem and its creator Rabbi Löw. Illustration by Mikoláš Aleš, 1899. Ink on paper. National Gallery in Prague. source: Wikipedia/ CC

The legend of Golem seems inextricably connected with the history of Prague, however substantial evidence links this legend to an older tradition, one which has flourished in early modern Poland. Read more about: The Trail of the Polish Golem

Wołowysk, fotografia z kolekcji Sławy Kaczuka, źródło: www.albom.pl

In the Summer of 2014 a group of ethnographers went on a field trip during which they visited seven towns located along both sides of Polish-Belarusian border. They were in search of old archival photography, however what they found turned out much more than that. Read more about: Phantom Snapshots from the Polish-Belarusian Border

Polish literature – it's obviously literature written in Polish: Kochanowski, Mickiewicz, Schulz, Gombrowicz... We know all these names very well from our Polish language classes in school. Yet, throughout centuries, literature that surfaced on Poland's territory was written in various other languages. What could be the history of these writings? Read more about: An Alternative History of Literature from Poland

The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research has launched a website with digitalized archives on Jewish life in Poland. Thousands of historical documents are now are accessible to the public. Read more about: YIVO presents the Digital Archive on Jewish Life in Poland

Poster to the film "The Dybbuk", pictured (in white): Lili Liliana, directed by: Michał Waszyński, 1937, photo: Filmoteka Narodowa/www.fototeka.fn.org.pl

They created tearful melodramas, mystical ghost stories and musicals. Jewish film-makers from the inter-war period invited the biggest film stars to Poland, created world-class productions and propelled Polish cinema onto the global stage. Few reminders are left of the vibrant Yiddish cinematic world that flourished in Warsaw, Poland, in the 1920s. Read more about: The Lost World of Yiddish Films in Poland

Throughout centuries, Poland has been populated by very diverse ethnicities and linguistic groups, all of which have left a mark. Here's a look at some of the languages spoken in these lands, and a short manual to the linguistic idiosyncrasies which often entailed complicated issues of ethnic, social and even economical background. Read more about: Poland Didn't Always Speak Polish: The Lost Linguistic Diversity of Europe

The Michael Friedman online Library of Jewish Writers presents audiences with classic Yiddish works, including well-known titles that have long been out of print. Among the authors featured on the website are Mendele Mocher-Sforim, Cholem Aleichem, and I.L. Perec. The library also features the extraordinary drama, The Dybbuk, written by Simon An-sky. Read more about: The Yiddish Classics of Michael Friedman

His photographs only gained fame after his death and his passion for collecting and recording songs and stories fills the chronicles of history with Jewish humour - the running gag about the inhabitants of Chełm. Read more about: Pre-war Jewish Life: The Secret Life of Menachem Kipnis

A portrait of Adam Mickiewicz by S.Chejmann; image courtesy of Marek Skorupski / FORUM

One of the most mysterious, as well as the most famous, quotations from Polish literature comes from the Romantic epic poem by Adam Mickiewicz. We invite you to delve into the secret of the number 40 and 4, and discover the possible Jewish roots of Poland’s most legendary soothsayer Read more about: Mickiewicz Unravelled: A Little-Known Fact about Poland's Best-Known Bard


'The first people of Israel who appeared in this region were nomadic merchants and arrived from Western Europe. They traded in slaves and furs, expensive fabrics, roots and weapons,' the director of the main exibition of the newly opened Polin Museum in Warsaw, talks about the earliest Jewish settlers in Poland and explains why they decided to stay. Read more

How to present the 1000 years long history of Polish Jews? - a sneak peak into the galleries of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Read more

A key element of the building's architecture is the great bisecting gap, with windows opening on the green square on one side and the Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto on the other. Read more