POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, located in the heart of the prewar Jewish neighborhood, faces the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes on the site of the former Warsaw ghetto. Its mission is to recover and commemorate the history of Polish Jews in the spirit of mutual understanding and respect amongst Poles and Jews, the societies of Europe and the world.
It is the first public-private institution in Poland. It was founded jointly by the government (the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage), the local government (the Capital City of Warsaw), and a non-governmental organization (the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland). The founding act specified that the public partners were to finance the construction of the Museum’s building and cover most of the current expenses. Our Association was responsible for financing and organizing the process of preparation of the core exhibition until the opening of the Museum in October 2014. Currently we contribute to the operating budget and raise funds for the Museum’s diverse program of activities in the area of education, culture, exhibits and science.
Jerzy Halbersztadt oversaw all of the Association’s work in creating the Museum of the History of Polish Jews from 1999 to 2011, initially as Project Director and then as the Association’s Coordinator for the Museum, and in the years 2006-2011 as the Museum’s first director. As such, he played a major role in creating the Museum, including its design and construction.
In October 2015, at the initiative of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, the Director of POLIN Museum established a Community Council, which is made up of representatives of Jewish organizations. The Council is led by Piotr Wiślicki, President of the Association. The Council is a forum for discussion, building relationships and sharing experiences among those committed to preserving and promoting the heritage of Polish Jews. The creators of the Museum have always intended it to be a place where various Jewish circles would come together.