20 million zlotys were donated by Dr. Jan Kulczyk’s investment house to the first and at once the only museum in the world entirely devoted to the history of Polish Jews

WARSAW |  The Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw has received a gift of 20 million zlotys (approximately $6 million) from Jan Kulczyk, a Polish oil tycoon, the Associated Press reports.

Announced along with an expansion of previously announced gifts and grants that now total $7 million from the San Francisco-based Koret Foundation and the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture in Belmont, California, the gift will enable the museum to complete its core exhibition, a multimedia space that guides visitors chronologically through Polish Jewish history from the Middle Ages to the present. The museum is expected to open in the fall of 2013 in conjunction with the seventieth anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Created in 2005 by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, the City of Warsaw, and the Polish Ministry of Culture, the museum is located on the site of the uprising adjacent to the Rappaport monument that commemorates the event and near Umschlagplatz, the railway depot where hundreds of thousands of Jews were deported to Treblinka, the Nazi death camp.

When completed, the five-story 140,000-square-foot facility will feature eight main galleries, each representing a different period of Polish Jewish history, as well as temporary exhibition galleries, a multi-use auditorium, a children’s area, a resource center, and a restaurant.

“There is no history of Poland without the Jews,” said Piotr Wislicki, chairman of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, “and no history of Jews without Poland.”

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews is the the first public-private cultural institution in Poland created jointly by national and local government working together with a non-governmental organization. The Kulczyk Holding donation of 20 million zlotys is a record contribution hitherto received by the project from a private donor

To read more about the gift, please visit the Museum of the History of Polish Jews website: http://www.jewishmuseum.org.pl/en/cms/news/1989,exceptional-donation-to-the-museum-of-the-history-of-polish-jews-by-kulczyk-holding/

The new Museum of the History of the Polish Jews, Warsaw (Photo credit: Charlie Phillips)