A small miracle in the tortured history of Polish-Jewish relations

[from The Guardian]

Mir zaynen do!” (“We are here!”) The defiant Yiddish refrain of a Polish Jewish partisan song, written in the darkest days of the second world war, rings out in the winter sunlight, echoing between a sombre monument to the heroes of the Warsaw ghetto rising and the shining, brand-new Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The words are spoken, with passion, by a Polish Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, Marian Turski, who remained in Poland after the war. Here, still here, or here again, where so much of European Jewish life was lived for so many centuries. If an electric tingle does not go up your spine at such a moment, there is something wrong with your spine.

Then we pass into the museum, through a giant twisting canyon of sand-like stone, conceived by the architect to recall Moses’s parting of the Red Sea. Down a curling marble staircase we find a multimedia exhibition that documents 1,000 years of Polish Jewish history. The Holocaust is there, of course, but the story does not begin or end with the Holocaust. “It is not a museum of the Shoah,” says the president of Israel, at this opening ceremony. “It is a museum of life.”

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