Poland's New Jewish History Museum Prepares for October 28 Grand Opening


September 25, 2014


Samantha Friedman, West End Strategy Team
samantha@westendstrategy.com; Office: (202) 776-7700; Cell: (202) 215-9260

Poland’s New Jewish History Museum Prepares for October 28 Grand Opening
Museum a worldwide Jewish endeavor made possible through decades of international support

WARSAW – Two decades in the making, and exploring 1,000 years of Jewish life in Poland, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews will unveil to the world its eight-gallery Core Exhibition, showcasing 1,000 years of Jewish life in Poland, on Tuesday, October 28. The museum, which stands on the historic site of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising facing the Monument of the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes, both memorializes and perpetuates Jewish life in Poland. Once home to the world’s largest Jewish community from which the majority of Jews living across the Diaspora descend, Poland is today enjoying a resurgence of Jewish life.

“Our museum will showcase the rich contributions of Jews to the culture of both Poland and the world,” said Dr. Dariusz Stola, the museum’s director. “Created by an international team of experts, the museum will rank among the top history museums in the world. This museum will have universal appeal, and we anticipate half a million visitors in our first year.”

At a total cost of $110 million, the museum boasts the distinction of being Poland’s largest public-private partnership – a collaborative initiative among the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Municipality of Warsaw and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, a nonprofit comprised of visionaries from Poland’s Jewish community who have served as caretakers of the country’s Jewish heritage for more than six decades.

“For me, this museum affirms the permanence of Jewish life on Polish soil,” said Piotr Wislicki, Chairman of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland. “There is no history of Poland without the Jews and no history of Jews without Poland.”

The museum is Poland’s largest fundraising success. The Polish government financed the 138,000 square-foot building at a cost of more than $60 million, and the Association, which first conceptualized the idea for a museum, was responsible for the development and production of the museum’s Core Exhibition. Thanks to the support of donors from all over the world, the Association raised $48 million for this purpose, as well as provided more than $6.5 million to support the museum’s educational and public programs.

“Seeing the museum become a reality is the fulfillment of a dream for me, a monumental global achievement, and an enduring testament to a millennium of Jewish life and culture in Poland that continues today,” said Tad Taube, a Founding Benefactor of the museum, Chairman of Taube

Philanthropies, President of the Koret Foundation, and Honorary Consul for the Republic of Poland in San Francisco.

The Core Exhibition

The Core Exhibition lies at the heart of the museum and occupies one-third of the building. Developed by an international team of historians, museum experts and Jewish Studies scholars from Poland, the United States, Europe and Israel, it presents the thousand-year history of Polish Jews, their culture and heritage, which remain a source of inspiration for Poland and the world. This millennium-long journey spans eight galleries – from the earliest period of Jewish settlement until modern times and the gradual revival of Poland’s Jewish community after the fall of communism in 1989. It is a narrative exhibition – visitors are immersed in a story told by artifacts, paintings and interactive installations, replicas and models, video projections and testimonies.

Highlights include:

  • The centerpiece of the Core Exhibition, a breathtaking replica of the 17th century Gwoździec Synagogue, a two-year project completed by an international group of almost 400 volunteers (featuring an ornately painted ceiling and timber-framed roof; part of the Jewish Town gallery)
  • The captivating Forest gallery, an artistic installation which opens the Core Exhibition and shares the Polin legend, where the journey through the history of Polish Jews begins
  • The hand-painted Medieval gallery, which spans six centuries and features the Statute of

Kalisz, the first official charter granted to Polish Jews from the state, now 750 years old, and a one-sided coin minted by a Jew and bearing Hebrew letters

  • An interactive scale model of Krakow and nearby Kazimierz (set in 1657, the time of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, presenting the rich culture of the local Jewish community; part of the “Paradisus Iudaeorum,” or Jewish Paradise, gallery)
  • A throne room showcasing the partition of the commonwealth by the Prussian, Russian

and Austrian-Hungarian empires (Encounters with Modernity gallery)

  • A historical street, situated at the pre-World War II location of Zamenhofa Street, a Jewish neighborhood, where visitors can discover via multimedia the interwar period’s vibrant cultural and political life
  • The Holocaust gallery, located directly opposite the Monument of the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes, which commemorates the victims of the Holocaust and the heroic Warsaw

Ghetto Uprising; the gallery explores daily life in the ghetto from primary-source diaries and documents, and visitors traverse steps conveying the names of streets from which Jews were rounded up

  • The Post-war gallery exploring the legacy of Polish Jewish life today

October 28-30: Grand Opening of the Core Exhibition of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

The grand opening of the Core Exhibition of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews will be celebrated when dignitaries from Poland and across Europe and the globe convene on October
28. Information on the grand opening of the Core Exhibition of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, including a full schedule, can be found on the museum’s website.

Media are asked to request credentials for the opening by October 15. Please do so via this online form. Any questions should be directed to Samantha Friedman at samantha@westendstrategy.com.

Significance of the “POLIN” Legend

The word “POLIN” in the museum’s name incorporates the legend of Polin, which tells how Jews fleeing persecution in Western Europe came to Poland, where they heard birds chirping “Po-lin! Po-lin!” The Hebrew word for Poland also means “rest here,” so when the Jews heard the birds, they considered it a sign from heaven that they had reached a safe haven where they could develop their spirituality, culture and learning.



Taube Philanthropies was established in 1981 by its founder and chairman, Tad Taube. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area and with an office in Warsaw, the Foundation makes philanthropic investments primarily in the Bay Area and Poland, in scholarship, heritage preservation, arts and culture, education, and institution-building. Taube Philanthropies is committed to collaborative giving for greatest charitable impact and actively partners with individual donors and other foundations. For additional information, please visit www.taubephilanthropies.org.


Since 1979, the San Francisco-based Koret Foundation, a private philanthropic organization, has invested over $500 million to strengthen the Bay Area region, Israel, and most recently, Poland. Koret invests in strategic, collaborative solutions to leverage its grant-making dollars. By funding market- based solutions to impact social policy issues, Koret is committed to supporting Bay Area anchor institutions, the Jewish community, and educational opportunities.