the republic logo

New exhibition at Jewish museum shows Warsaw's pre-World War II life

Share/Save/Bookmark

WARSAW, Poland — Old films, music recordings and everyday objects are among items that recreate the atmosphere of Jewish life in Warsaw until World War II in a new exhibition at Warsaw's Jewish history museum.

The "Warszawa, Warsze" — "Warsaw" in Polish and Yiddish — exhibition opens Friday at the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and will run through June 30. In sections dedicated to writers, artists, family sagas and daily life it shows how the Jews and the city interacted, influencing and enriching each other. The loss of Jewish Warsaw is best shown in pictures comparing some sites as they are now — modern hotels and streets — with the low, old-style architecture of their Jewish times.

"We want to show this melting pot of the two cultures," Katarzyna Nowakowska-Sito, a museum deputy director, told a news conference Thursday.

Until the Holocaust, Warsaw had the world's second-largest Jewish community, after New York, Nowakowska-Sito said. One in three of the 1.5 million Warsaw residents was Jewish.

PHOTO: People watch a picture of the horse market in pre-World War II Warsaw’s Praga district, at a new exhibition by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday, March 27, 2014. The exhibition that will run through June 30 documents Jewish life in Warsaw before the Holocaust. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
People watch a picture of the horse market in pre-World War II Warsaw’s Praga district, at a new exhibition by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday, March 27, 2014. The exhibition that will run through June 30 documents Jewish life in Warsaw before the Holocaust. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

"The exhibition shows the dual character that the city had until 1939, when the Jewish part of it started to vanish," she said.

The multimedia core exhibition is to open later this year in the impressive modern building and will document in detail the thousand-year-long history of the vibrant Jewish life and culture in Poland that influenced all of the Jewish diaspora.

The museum building —largely funded by Poland's government and located on territory that was the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II — is already open to visitors, serving as a cultural and educational center offering films and lectures.

Some 3.5 million Jews lived in Poland before the war. Most of them were killed in the Holocaust, under the Nazi occupation. Many survivors fled under communist-sponsored anti-Semitic propaganda in the late 1960s.

The Jewish presence has been rebuilt since Poland shed communism in 1989, but the Jewish population of the country is still estimated at only around 20,000.

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

All comments are moderated before posting. Your email address must be verified with Disqus in order for your comment to appear.
View our commenting guidelines and FAQ's here.

Story copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: A visitor watches a color document movie of Nalewki Street in the Jewish district in pre-World War II Warsaw, at a new exhibition by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday, March 27, 2014. The exhibition that will run through June 30 documents Jewish life in Warsaw before the Holocaust. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Click to view (5 Photos)
We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Category:

Follow The Republic:

All content copyright ©2014 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.