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Old July 5th, 2005, 05:00 PM   #1
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[Warsaw] The Museum Of The History Of Polish Jews

Architects named for Jewish museum

Thursday, June 30, 2005 Posted: 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- A design by Finnish architects Rainer Mahlamaeki and Ilmari Lahdelma was chosen Thursday for a new Jewish museum in Warsaw, beating an international field of 10 others.

The new museum will be built next to a memorial commemorating the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Judges from Poland, Israel and several European countries chose the plan for the rectangular building in glass and limestone with a passageway running through it.

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews, due to open in 2008, will depict Jewish life that flourished for eight centuries in Poland before it was virtually wiped out under Nazi occupation.

In a blind competition where the anonymous entries bore numbers, the architects' Helsinki-based firm beat out better-known competitors such as Daniel Libeskind, designer of Berlin's landmark Jewish Museum, and Peter Eisenman, designer of the Berlin Holocaust memorial.

The jury looked for a design that would fit with the museum's interior space and exhibits, which have already been designed. The project has a budget of 100 million zlotys (US$30 million; €25 million).

It will be built in a park in downtown Warsaw next to a monument to the victims of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Although it will devote space to the Holocaust, it will focus on the centuries when Jews flourished in this central European land.

Museum organizers hope the new facility will stand alongside the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and Berlin's Jewish Museum as one of the world's pre-eminent museums devoted to Jewish history.

"Poland was the heart of the Jewish Diaspora for centuries, and it is a forgotten story," said Ewa Junczyck-Ziomecka, the museum's director for development.

"The accomplishments of Polish Jewry -- to the culture of Europe, to the founding of Israel, to culture in the United States -- is so powerful and people are not aware of it."

Rainer Mahlamaeki and Ilmari Lahdelma (The winners)

The Facade

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Kengo Kuma

This is all fresh information and that's all we got now, we will post pictures of renderings and other stuff when we get them. So what do we think so far?
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Old July 5th, 2005, 05:02 PM   #2
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wonderful thanx1
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Old July 5th, 2005, 05:17 PM   #3
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The program of the exhibition has beeen defined before the architectural competition (the architects had to stick to it). Here some words and pics of the exhibition:

It won't definately be another holocaust museum. It will show 800 years of Jewish presence on Polish soil. Poland had the largest jewish population in Europe before 1939 (around 3,5 mln) and it was all wiped out by the nazis. This museum is to remember them, to make ppl aware that they lived right here with Poles for centuries. The museum will show the life of Polish Jews from when they first settled here to the present times and it will focus on everything from every day life, to culture, architecture, influence etc.

Floor Plan

First Encounters

First Settlements

The Golden Age

Shtetl (typical wooden synagogue)

In The City

Nalewki Street (before the WWII)

Ghetto, Holocaust

After The War
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Old July 5th, 2005, 05:25 PM   #4
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some more:

Here's the plan of the Ghetto in Warsaw (from http://jewish.sites.warszawa.um.gov.pl/plan.htm)

I've marked the planned museum with the red square. The yellow dot is The Palace Of Culture. The buildings before the war are marked with grey colour. The present streets - cyan. The only buildings within the ghetto that survived the war and extermination are marked with dark blue.

and some pictures:

wooden bridge over Chlodna St, joining the "Small" and "Large" Ghettos:

and that's after the liquidation, as you can see whole streets were wiped out:

Last edited by Van der Rohe; July 5th, 2005 at 05:30 PM.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 05:31 PM   #5
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more than 300,000 polish jews emmigrated to Israel....
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Old July 5th, 2005, 05:34 PM   #6
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Looks fabulous,,i am going to visit Warsaw sometime this summer for a week, the place looks great
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Old July 5th, 2005, 06:33 PM   #7
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Warsaw's Jewish heritage remembered
By Jan Repa
BBC Europe analyst

A design by Finnish architects Rainer Mahlamaki and Ilmari Lahdelma has been chosen for a new Jewish museum to be built in Warsaw.

The Finns beat an international field of architects, including the likes of Daniel Libeskind, Peter Eisenman and Zvi Hecker.

Work is scheduled to start next year, with a view to opening in 2008.

According to the sponsors, this is not meant to be another Holocaust museum, but mainly a celebration of centuries of Jewish life in Poland: a complex and vibrant community virtually wiped out during the Nazi occupation of World War II.

This is not the first attempt in recent years to establish a museum of Jewish memory in Poland.

A much more modest version already exists in the southern city of Krakow, the brainchild of British photojournalist Chris Schwartz.

"What we want is for people to get a real understanding if they are not Jews - a pride if they are Jews - of the Jewish culture that existed here before the Holocaust," Mr Schwarz says.

"For nearly 1,000 years this was the Jewish homeland. At one point, 90% of the world's Jews lived around here.

"You cannot turn your back on 1,000 years of history and just pretend it did not happen."

Differing histories

On the most optimistic estimates, there are perhaps 20,000 Jews left in Poland today - out of a pre-World War II population of 3m.

About 30% of pre-war Warsaw was Jewish, a situation replicated in most other Polish cities.

Architects' impression of the entrance hall (pic: Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamaki))

Many small towns, particularly in the east of the country, were overwhelmingly Jewish.

One 17th century Vatican diplomat described Poland as "Paradisus Iudaeorum" - a Jewish Heaven.

The Jewish novelist Isaac Bashevis Singer, who emigrated to the US in 1935, declared: "There were hundreds of thousands of Jews in Poland to whom Polish was an unfamiliar as Turkish.

"My forefathers lived in Poland for centuries, but in reality, I was a foreigner with separate language, ideas and religion."

The popular impression among Poles is that Poland, historically, was a haven of toleration, to which Jews flocked from all over Europe.

The popular Jewish image of Poland is of a country of vicious anti-Semites.

Konstanty Gebert, a prominent Warsaw newspaper columnist and editor of the Polish-language Jewish periodical Midrasz, describes conditions immediately before and during the Nazi occupation.

"You knew more or less what to expect in France, in Germany, certainly Russia," he says.

"But in Poland, the appearance of anti-Semitism as a mass phenomenon in the first half of the 20th century, was still within living memory.

"People remembered how Poland changed overnight. And they were shocked.

"It is very clear from the historical record that the overwhelming majority of Polish non-Jewish society was indifferent to the suffering of the Jews, and a sizeable minority volunteered to participate in their persecution.

"Having said that, it is fundamental to remember that thousands of Poles risked their lives to save Jews."

According to some recent estimates, as many as one in 10 of Warsaw's non-Jewish population may have been involved.

Some sceptics, including Konstanty Gebert himself, have suggested that what Jews in Poland today need most is not more history, but money and resources to keep alive what Jewish culture still remains.

There have also been suggestions that the planned museum could perpetuate other stereotypes: kaftans, beards and shtetls, or eager young Communist agitators.

Different futures

Part of the problem seems to be that there is no consensus among Poland's Jews themselves.

For some, Jewishness means, above all, rediscovering Judaism - often of a highly traditional, orthodox variety.

Others see it as a broad tradition, embracing various outlooks and ideologies.

Some define themselves as Poles. Others claim to feel a sense of alienation from mainstream Polish society.

Some identify strongly with Israel. Some do not.

Poland's former foreign minister and wartime resistance fighter, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, considering the situation a century ago, suggests it was ever thus.

"What national identity could there be between a Jew born in Krakow under the Austrian emperor, Franz Joseph; a Jew who lived under the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, in Kalisz [a small town in western Poland] or in Pomerania; and a Jew who lived under the Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, in Brzesc [Brest-Litovsk]?" he asks.

"The first two spoke German and Polish. The third spoke Russian and Yiddish."

Mr Bartoszewski - a non-Jew - was a founder member of a Polish resistance group set up to help Jews during the Holocaust.

Poland's current foreign minister, Adam Rotfeld - who is a Jew - says Jews cannot expect to receive compensation on terms more favourable than non-Jews for assets lost during the war.

Warsaw's Jewish museum will almost inevitably generate great interest and controversy.

After a century that saw the collapse of empires, frequent regime changes, drastic changes of frontiers, mass exterminations and the disappearance of entire communities and social classes, today's Poles often have a poor grasp of their own traditions and identity.

With luck, the Jewish museum could prove a stimulus to a broader examination of the region's past.

Last edited by Van der Rohe; July 5th, 2005 at 07:22 PM.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 06:34 PM   #8
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here article from Israeli web site:
Museum planned at ghetto site

Announcement caps 10-year struggle; Polish gov't, Jewish groups to fund project
By Reuters
WARSAW - A new museum will open in 2008 in the heart of Warsaw's wartime ghetto to tell the story of Europe's largest Jewish community before it was wiped out by the Nazis, the project's director said on Monday. 'I don't understand'
After a ten-year struggle for funding, Poland's government and Jewish groups agreed to build the USD 30 million (NIS 137 million) museum in a square next to the Warsaw Ghetto memorial.
It will trace several centuries of Jewish history in Poland and pay homage to famous Polish-born Jews including director Roman Polanski, film producer Samuel Goldwyn and Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion.
Parting the sea
The building, designed by little-known Finnish architects Ilmari Lahdelma and Rainer Mahlamaki, will have an austere blue-glass exterior encasing a red, cave-like structure meant to symbolize Moses' parting of the Red Sea.
"Many of the designs were spectacular from the outside, but we also wanted something that had a magical interior," said project director and historian Jerzy Halbersztadt. "This design is open, it draws people in."

Post-war efforts
Poland has made strenuous efforts to improve relations with Israel since the end of communism, aware that the post-war decades were sullied by a 1946 pogrom and an anti-Semitic campaign in 1968 that drove out many remaining Jews.
Twelve years after Steven Spielberg's Holocaust film Schindler's List brought the southern city of Krakow worldwide fame, thousands of tourists come to Poland annually to visit the often well-preserved ruins of former Nazi German camps.
Poland's Jewish community numbered 3 million residents on the eve of World War II. It is estimated that up to 20,000 remain.
Studies for the museum project say it should attract up to half a million visitors annually
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Old July 6th, 2005, 02:04 AM   #9
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very nice project indeed.... beautiful in fact!
esaelp ecuas dna liatkcoc nwarp
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Old July 6th, 2005, 05:24 AM   #10
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Very nice, but not a highrise.
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