20 June 2009

Poland: High-tech virtual shtetl launched

Warsaw's future Museum of Polish Jews launched the Virtual Shtetl site a few days ago.

According to its creators, it is a virtual encyclopedia of knowledge for those who want to find out more about the history and current life of Polish Jews.

Currently, it offers information on 800 Polish cities and towns where Jews lived, some 5,000 photographs and dozens of films.

The bilingual (Polish/English) site is intended to build the museum's collection before it opens in 2011. Using Web 2.0, it allows viewers to contribute information and eyewitness testimony.

The project also includes localities which were in Poland before borders changed after WWII. Versions of the site are now being developed in Belorussian, Ukrainian and Lithuanian languages.

Creators hope it will bring to light 1,000 years of Jewish life in Poland that was wiped out.

View the site's English version here.

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