Vienna with its monument on Judenplatz, etc...etc. and now Poland!
They murder the Jews, than they build museums and monuments in memory of the dead Jews.....How much would they charge to visit the Jewish museum in Warsaw?
Poland moves to embrace its Jewish past
By Jan Cienski
Published: January 24 2005 02:00 | Last updated: January 24 2005 02:00
When Elyssa Greenbaum flew to Poland last April she got a shock when she landed in Warsaw and saw green grass.
"It was a place where millions of people had been slaughtered. I always had images of it in black and white. I didn't expect to see grass, and shopping malls, and billboards, and people holding hands," says the Toronto university student.
Miss Greenbaum and thousands of other Jewish students arrive in Poland each year for brief pilgrimages to Auschwitz and other sites associated with the Holocaust. Like her, most arrive with a negative view of Poland and are interested only in seeing the places where the Nazis slaught-ered millions of Jews during the second world war.
After four or five days in the country, many tourists leave for Israel, where Jewish rebirth contrasts starkly with grim tours in Poland.
In an attempt to break down the stereotype of Poland and its anti-Semitism, the government, alongside the tiny remnant community of Polish Jews, is planning to build a $63m (â‚¬48m, Â£34m) museum of the history of Polish Jews in Warsaw. The museum, which has been raising funds from around the world, is scheduled to open by 2008. The government and the city of Warsaw will announce the size of their grants tomorrow.
"Our goal is to return to the light of memory the thousand-year history of Jews in Poland which has almost been forgotten," says Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, the museum's director for development. "The museum will show that not only were people physically killed but their culture was killed and even their memory was destroyed."
The museum is part of a wider trend in Poland of nostalgia towards the Jewish presence, coupled with a decline in anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incidents.
Nearby Krakow is now home to one of the most vibrant festivals of Jewish culture in the world, and museums are springing up across the country, most of them founded and run by non-Jews, to remember that Jews were once an integral part of Poland.
The Warsaw museum will explain the 1,000-year presence of Jews in Poland, both to foreigners and to Poles, most of whom have never met a Jew in their lives.
For centuries Poland's relatively free society made it the home to the largest Jewish community in the world, and took in immigrants who had been expelled from Spain, England, Russia and other European countries.
Feliks Tych, head of the Warsaw-based Institute of Jewish History, argues that critics have too harshly judged the role of Poles during the second world war. In Warsaw, 30,000 Jews were hidden by Poles during the war (only 11,000 survived), implying that some 100,000 Poles risked execution to help hide them.
However, most of the 300,000 Polish Jews who survived the war left the country when they were faced with anti-Semitism by Poles who did not want to return Jewish property obtained during the war.
Before the war, there were 3.5m Polish Jews - or 10 per cent of Poland's population. Now there are about 8,000 Jews in Poland, a country of 39m.
For many years the concentration camp at Auschwitz was a flashpoint between Poles and Jews. While Poles memorialised the 100,000 Poles murdered there, Jews saw it as the central symbol of the horrors of the Holocaust, a place where 1.1m Jews were killed. The disputes around the camp, which was liberated by Soviet forces 60 years ago this week, have lessened.
Although, according to opinion polls, about a fifth of Poles still harbour anti-Semitic views Poland has less anti-Semitic violence than France or Germany and anti-Jewish slurs are now almost unknown in politics, Mr Tych and others say. "In Poland, anti-Jewish feelings are based on myth: people who don't like Jews have not been able to confirm [their views] because there are [now] almost no Jews in Poland," says Mr Tych. "On the Jewish side, there is a reluctance to accept any positive changes in Polish views."