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Museum of thousand-year history of Polish Jews opens in Warsaw

Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski and Israel's President Reuven Rivlin took part, along Holocaust survivors, in the formal opening of the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw last week.

Polish President called the occasion “an impulse for good future of Polish-Jewish and Polish-Israeli relations”.

"One cannot understand ... Poland's history without knowing the history of Polish Jews," President Komorowski said at the opening ceremony. He said this was due not only to centuries of Jewish presence in Poland but also to the Jewish community's important role in many areas of Polish life: in the economy, culture and science.
"Neither can one understand the history of Jews without knowing the history of Poland," he added.

Referring to the word Polin in the museum's name, Komorowski pointed out that it meant "rest here" in Hebrew and was used by Jews to denote Poland in older times, "not without reason, because for centuries multi-ethnic, multi-denominational and tolerant Poland was a safe and generally friendly place for them, a splendid exception on the map of Europe in those days."

President Rivlin described Poland as the place that nurtured the creative soul of the Jewish people. "To our great sorrow it is also the largest graveyard of the Jewish people," he said.

The museum was created to reflect the history of the Jews of Poland from every perspective, he said, adding that it is not a Holocaust Museum.

"Even though Jews were removed from Poland," President Rivlin said, "Poland was not removed from the Jews."

The multimedia museum tells the 1,000-year history of Jewish life in Poland. The main exhibition comprises eight galleries with a total area of over 4,000 square meters. The galleries explore different periods in the history of Polish Jews, including legends of how Jews first arrived in Poland, the first Jewish settlements, the emergence of Jewish culture, the social, religious and political diversity of Jewish communities, turbulent historical events from centuries ago, the Holocaust and contemporary times. The multimedia exhibition was designed by an international team of academics and curators headed by Prof. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. The exhibition was designed by Event Communications from London and Nizio Design International from Warsaw.

source: warsawvoice.pl

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