Warsaw, Poland – July 4, 2012 -Two new gifts – totaling approximately $13 million – to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews have been announced: $7 million in collaborative and matching funds have been awarded by the U.S. based Koret Foundation and the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture and Jan Kulczyk, Poland’s wealthiest wealthiest individual, has transferred $6 million to the institution.
The museum will consist of eight galleries, occupying more than 13,000 square feet of space, and will showcase 1,000 years of Jewish life in Poland.
According to the Polish Press Agency, Kulczyk, when asked about why he had made such a large donation, replied, “Life is not just about business. We must remember about what went before us, and that nothing connects us as much as shared history.”
Tad Taube, president of the Koret Foundation and chairman of the Taube Foundation, was born in Poland in 1931 and left shortly before the beginning of WWII. He built a successful business and philanthropic foundation in San Francisco but never stopped caring about his first home.
On this journey through centuries of Polish-Jewish history, visitors will begin in an evocative forest – a space of legend, imagination, sounds, voices and magic. They will stop and admire a scale replica roof of the now lost 17th-century wooden synagogue from Gwodziec, along with its ornamented ceiling, recreated by students using traditional materials, methods and tools. They may also walk down a bustling street, stroll past shops, theaters and cafes and glance at posters heralding the politics of the day.
The core exhibition is based on original objects, iconography, documents and multimedia elements forming a chronological and thematic narrative and is the first museum exhibition in the world to holistically address Polish-Jewish history. The museum itself will provide an interactive space for educational, cultural and research programs.
The museum was created in 2005 as an independent entity by three parties: the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, the City of Warsaw and the Polish Ministry of Culture. It is the first public-private partnership institution of its kind in Poland and is setting an example for cultural institutions all over the country.
At an estimated cost just under $100 million, the museum looks to open in 2013.