Poland is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, together with the rest of Europe.

70 years since the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Last updated: 19.04.2013 // “It is with deep respect that we remember today the victims from the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw. They showed tremendous courage in the uprising, and for that they paid the highest price,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

Today, Poland is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, together with the rest of Europe. A new museum relating the thousand-year-long history of Poland’s Jews is being opened in Warsaw to mark the occasion. Norway has provided NOK 22 million in funding to the museum through the EEA and Norway Grants.

“The last, desperate attempt to save those remaining in the ghetto will always be a symbol of the ability of people under threat to offer resistance even in the face of a seemingly invincible war machine, such as that of the Nazis. The picture of the Jewish boy with his hands in the air being led out of the ghetto with a group of terrified women is one of the best-known images from the Second World War,” said Mr Eide.

Before the Second World War, Poland was home to the largest population of Jews in the world. There were 3.5 million Jews in Poland before the War. Now they number only a few thousand.

Interest in Poland’s thousand-year-old Jewish heritage has recently gained renewed interest in the country. The Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which will be opened on the anniversary day, will present the history of Polish Jews – a story of cooperation and tolerance, but one that also contains some very dark chapters. It is a story that is little known in Poland or in the rest of Europe.

The funding from Norway will, among other things, support the museum’s information and awareness-raising activities targeted at young people in and outside Poland. Norwegian centres of expertise on Jewish heritage and anti-Semitism will take part in this project.

“Poland has a unique Jewish heritage that is important not only for Poland but also for the Europe as a whole. I am pleased that Norway is helping to make this history better known through the EEA and Norway Grants,” said Mr Eide.

The museum has been built on the site of the former ghetto, where the uprising started 70 years ago. It is situated next to the monument to the victims of the uprising, in front of which German Chancellor Willy Brandt knelt down on his visit to Warsaw in 1970. The museum will be one of the most important museums of Jewish history and heritage in the world.

Poland is beginning to experience a revitalisation of Jewish culture with more popular festivals, new education programmes and more active synagogues in local communities.

Through the EEA and Norway Grants, Norway has also supported other projects aimed at promoting Jewish heritage, religious tolerance, and the fight against anti-Semitism, as well as the restoration of several synagogues in Poland.

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