13 March 2008

Poland: Jewish museum receives US support

The US House of Representatives has authorized $5 million to support the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, according to the North American Council of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

The museum's goal is to create a museum that celebrates a thousand years of Polish Jewish life and commemorate the three million Polish Jews who died in World War II. the 140,000-square-foot facility will feature eight central galleries dedicating to telling the story of Jews in Poland since the Middle Ages. It is scheduled to open in early 2011.

The media release reads in part:

Washington , D.C.: March 10, 2008 – The North American Council of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews is pleased to announce that the “Support for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews Act” (HR 3320) has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. Authored by U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), the legislation authorizes $5 million in federal support to help finance the Warsaw-based Museum. The House passed the bill 407 to 13 in November 2007. HR 3320 is currently pending in the Senate and if approved, will head to President Bush where he could sign the bill into law.

Sigmund Rolat, Chairman of the North American Council of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews has heralded Smith's bill as a momentous occasion for the museum, its supporters, and the international community.

“The imprimatur of the U.S. government often spearheads subsequent giving among international donors—from major cultural foundations to individuals,” said Rolat from his New York Office. “We are so grateful for all Congressman Smith has done. We look forward to thanking him in person on March 13 at 1:00 pm.”

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews (MHPJ) will be the world’s only museum to tell the story of Polish Jews from the Middle Ages to today. Welcomed as a breath of new life in an area often mired in sadness and loss, the Museum is an educational and cultural center devoted to sharing the rich cultural heritage of Jews of Polish descent. With 60% of American Jews and 80% of world Jewry tracing their ancestry to Poland, the world eagerly anticipates the 2011 opening of this important new cultural institution. Projected annual attendance is estimated at 500,000 visitors, including over 30,000 Americans, 50,000 Israelis and hundreds of thousands of Europeans each year. ...

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