fot. Kamil Grądzki

About the Museum

The idea to create the Museum of the History of Polish Jews originated at the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute [JHI] and gradually garnered widespread approval both in Poland and abroad. In 1995, thanks to the support of individual and institutional donors, work on the project of the Museum began and continued - as a social initiative - until 2005.

On 25 January 2005, long-term efforts of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland finally bore fruit. On that day, on the initiative of then Mayor of Warsaw Lech Kaczyński, the Museum was formally established as a public-private partnership of the Association of JHI, the City of Warsaw, and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

The agreement, which brought to life the jointly financed cultural institution, was signed by Mayor Lech Kaczyński, Waldemar Dąbrowski, then Minister of Culture, and Professor Jerzy Tomaszewski, Deputy Chairman of the Association of JHI. With time, thanks to the funds raised mainly from private individuals and foundations from the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Poland, the work on the project of a future museum became possible. Unique documentation on Polish Judaica both in the country and abroad was collected and a wide international support network requisite to raise funds needed to design and produce the core exhibition was established.

  EMYA 2016 for POLIN Museum
 

In 2016, POLIN Museum won the title of the European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA 2016).

POLIN Museum rose up to the challenge of creating an engaging and persuasive core exhibition without a substantial collection of artefacts. The programme of temporary exhibitions, educational activities, conferences, academic and artistic residences make the Museum a vibrant platform for dialogue and spreading the knowledge on Jewish history and heritage – reads the EMYA Jury statement.

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews is the first public-private partnership institution formed together by the government, the local government, and a non-governmental organization. In compliance with the signed tripartite agreement, the public partner covered, among others, the cost of the construction of the Museum building and its interior fittings. The Association of JHI was responsible for, among others, financing and organization of the process of creating the core exhibition (for details please go to: Public-Private Partnership). 

The Museum is a modern institution of culture - it is a historical museum which presents the 1000 years of Jewish life in the Polish lands. It is also a place of meeting and dialogue among those who wish to explore the past and present Jewish culture, those eager to draw conclusions for the future from Polish-Jewish history, and finally those who are ready to face the stereotypes and oppose xenophobia and nationalistic prejudices that threaten today’s societies. By promoting the ideas of openness, tolerance and truth, POLIN Museum contributes to the mutual understanding and respect among Poles and Jews.

Engagement of hundreds of people made the establishment of POLIN Museum possible. However, one must remember the crucial role of Grażyna Pawlak, the prime mover behind the project and its first coordinator, and Jerzy Halbersztadt who in the years 1999-2011 managed the Museum project implementation at the Association of JHI, and in the years 2006-2011 served as the Museum Director. We must also remember the role of Piotr Wiślicki who was responsible for the design and production of the core exhibition from 2011 onwards. From its very inception, the Museum project could rely on the support of Marian Turski who held the post of the Chairman of the Board of the Association of JHI until 2011, and who has acted as the Chairman of the Museum Council since 2009.

The Directors od POLIN Museum

Jerzy Halbersztadt was the first Director of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. He was succeeded by Agnieszka Rudzińska who served as an Acting Director until June 2012, when she was replaced by Andrzej Cudak, appointed as the Museum’s Acting Director for the following two years. In the years 2014-2019, Professor Dariusz Stola was the POLIN Museum Director. Currently Zygmunt Stępiński is the Acting Director of the Museum.

2018 POLIN Museum Report - pobierz plik PDF >>