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POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

An unusual museum in a unique location. One thousand years of history is told in a symbolic place in the center of Warsaw – in the pre-war district inhabited mainly by Jews, and during the war transformed by the Germans into a ghetto. The museum restores the memory of their rich culture and heritage.

Before you start your tour, pay attention to the building itself, which conceals many symbols and meanings, for example: the main hall “cuts” the museum building from the underground to the roof, symbolising the crack in the history of Polish Jews caused by the Holocaust. On the glass panes covering the façades is the Hebrew word Polin, which means “Poland” or “here you will rest”.

Then go on a journey through the centuries following the route designated by eight theme galleries. Antique objects, paintings, interactive exhibits, reconstructions and video projections will bring you closer to this fascinating history.
You will discover the traces of the first Jewish settlement in medieval Poland, see the 13th-century royal statute guaranteeing them safety as well as personal and religious freedom, and learn what the “Golden Age of the Culture of Polish Jews” was. In the Jewish Town gallery, you will see one of the main attractions of the museum – the reconstructed roof structure of the unique wooden synagogue from Gwoździec. Next, you’ll walk through a pre-war Jewish street where two cultures merge, then go to the Warsaw ghetto from World War II and finally find yourself in the post-war period.

Do not forget to see the Ghetto Heroes Monument in front of the museum, in front of which, in a historic gesture, the German Chancellor Willi Brandt knelt. This event was considered a symbolic apology from Germany for the crimes of the Holocaust. 

Nearby is also a monument to Jan Karski – the emissary of the Polish underground state. In the autumn 1942 he travelled to the United Kindgom, where he passed his eyewitness report on the extermination of the Jews to the highest Allied authorities.

Budynek Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich POLIN, przed nim kilka osób.
Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich Polin, fot. Filip Kwiatkowski