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.

 

Articles

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

Artists

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

Icchok Lejbusz Perec, 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

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

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

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Video

'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