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Construction set for Polish Jewry museum

ROME (JTA) — Construction on the long-planned Museum of the History of Polish Jews is set to begin in Warsaw.

Poland’s culture minister, Warsaw’s mayor and other officials signed a contract Wednesday authorizing Poland’s largest construction engineering company, Polimex-Mostostal, to begin work on the multimillion-dollar project on June 30.

Polimex-Mostostal chairman Konrad Jasko said the building, a glass-walled structure designed by Finnish architect  Rainer Mahlamaki, would be completed in 33 months.

The museum will be located in the heart of what was the World War II Warsaw Ghetto, facing the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Monument that was erected there in 1948.

In a statement released Thursday, the museum said that a gala ceremony will mark the start of construction. A group of 100 American cantors on a concert tour of Poland are scheduled to perform.

Meanwhile, the future museum launched a Virtual Shtetl Web site Tuesday to help build the museum’s collection, the French news agency AFP reported.

The site contains information about 800 Polish cities and towns that were home to Jewish shtetls before the Holocaust. Users can add information and eyewitness testimony to the site.

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