Jewish history museum rises from old Warsaw Ghetto

It will be the most important Jewish history museum in Europe, and it will be located in the most sensitive spot: The museum for the history of Polish Jewry will be built where the Warsaw Ghetto used to stand.

Three weeks ago, the project director, Jerzy Halbersztadt, sent the master plan for the museum to a group of historians. The recipients undertook, in writing, not to share it with anyone.

But it looks like the historians selected have left out sufficiently emphasizing the painful issue of Polish anti-Semitism.

Will the Poznan pogroms of 1693, in which the Jews bravely defended themselves, be part of the museum?

Will an anti-Semitic book written by a 17th-century Polish court physician, in which he accused the Jews of studying medicine to learn murder techniques, be part of the museum?

Already, a reconstruction of Warsaw’s famous Nalewki street, through which visitors would enter the museum, is bearing a “Disney Worldish” approach. The London designer rejected that criticism.

Discussion has turned to some extremely thorny general questions: Is a museum the appropriate tool for presenting a historical narrative? Is it even capable of presenting complex situations properly, without obscuring the picture?

The consultations are continuing.

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