Polish official: Jewish gifts to Warsaw museum a show of trust, forgiveness


WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Poland’s culture minister said the generosity of Jewish donors to the new Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews represented a sign of trust and even forgiveness.

More than 500 private and institutional donors, many of them Jewish, contributed a total of $48 million to the Warsaw museum’s core exhibition, which had its grand opening on Tuesday.

“The donations can be understood if not as a sign of forgiveness, then as a sign of trust and, perhaps, in the future as forgiveness,” Culture Minister Malgozata Omilanowska told the audience at a gala concert Monday night in Warsaw that was part of celebrations marking the opening.

Taube Philanthropies and the Koret Foundation, headed by the Polish-born, San Francisco-based philanthropist Tad Taube, are the largest private donors to the museum, jointly committing and organizing more than $16 million.

Other leading Jewish donors include Victor Markowicz, co-chair of the North American Council of the museum, and his wife, Monica; Holocaust survivor Sigmund Rolat; and Irene Kronhill Pletka.

The concert in the Great Theatre opera house was part of several days of events celebrating the grand opening. Celebrities in attendance included Poland’s president, prime minister and other senior political figures; the Polish-born actor and director Roman Polanski, a child survivor of the Holocaust whose mother was killed at Auschwitz; and government delegations including a U.S. group headed by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).

Recommended from JTA