POLIN – The Jewish Museum in Warsaw

Are you ready for a mind-blowing adventure? Plan your next trip to POLIN Jewish Museum in Warsaw

This is unlike the orthodox museum with dusty exhibitions with long descriptions that bore visitors. Instead, it is mainly interactive. Everywhere you turn, there is something to touch or push.

Since its inception in 2014, the museum has added a number of awards to its achievements. In 2016, just less than 2 years to when it opened to the public, the POLIN Jewish Museum was awarded the European Museum of the Year. 

POLIN Museum is more than just a museum. It is a significant cultural landmark in Warsaw. The complex plays host to lots of top events annually. While some are dedicated to promoting the Jewish culture, other events are designed to support what POLIN Museum stands for, by organizing workshops and meetings with activists, writers, and local seniors. 

Within its four walls is the history of Polish Jews dating back 1000 years. If you are interested in Polish Jews, this narrative museum will take you through the past and present Jewish culture. 

POLIN Museum is one of the finest museums on the face of the planet. Still in doubt, then you should tour the museum in person for a firsthand experience. It’s a captivating place to be. 


The thought of building a museum that narrates explicitly the history of the Jewish people has been in the plans at the Jewish Historical Institute since 1993. 

But two things stalled the progress: funds and support of the Polish government. In 2005, the dream became a reality when the Polish Minister of Culture not only provided full government backing but also massive financial support. 

The total amount used in the construction process hovered around 130 million USD, with 80 million USD financial aid from the government and 50 million USD donations from both foreign and local businesses. No other museum in Poland costs more in construction than the POLIN Museum in Warsaw, making it the most expensive museum ever in the country. 

Visitors will be entertained to a millennium of Polish Jewish history. Before the start of the Second World War, more than 3 million Jews called Poland home. The country had the world’s largest Jewish population. 

The systematic genocide carried out on the Polish Jewish populace by the German forces during the Second World War saw more than 90 percent of the Jews passed on. Those who survived the systematic annihilation had to relocate to a safer clime after the war. 

The Building

Following many years of planning, the museum was opened to the public in 2014.The core exhibitions in POLIN Museum are fascinating but another breathtaking sight that will leave you spellbound is the architectural structure. The building itself is a spectacle. 

The place where the building is sited is steeped in history. Its location was once known as the old Jewish district of Muranow. However, the destruction of World War II and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising left the area in ruins. Right in front of the building is a 1948 monument dedicated to the departed souls during the war times. 

Core Exhibitions

Step back a thousand years in Polish Jewish history when you visit the POLIN Museum. The method of display is highly commendable. Unlike traditional museums where you’ll find artifacts with descriptions that will bore you, the POLIN 

Museum instead uses quotes from a wide range of source materials such as chronicles, memoirs, and philosophical books, to name a few. These exhibitions cover the history of the Jewish populace in times of old, Poland, and the continent at large. 

Seven galleries detail the exhibitions in the museum. 

First Encounter (960 – 1500)

This takes visitors through the history of the first Jewish settlement in Warsaw. Learn more about the first laws and how the Jewish population escaped pogroms in Western Europe. The artistic presentations using interactive maps, short videos, and audio narrations make this exhibition even more enjoyable. 

Paradisus Iudaeorum (1569 -1648)

Paradisus Iudaeorum, literally meaning, Jewish Paradise, reflect the freedom and legal rights apportioned to the Jewish population at the time. A walk through the gallery depicts fun life in that time and age. 

A striking exposition that will catch the eyes of visitors is the huge model of medieval Krakow and Kazimierz. This gallery is highly interactive. Quotes are translated into English so you have nothing to worry about in that regard. 

The Jewish Town (1648 – 1772)

This exhibition displays detailed information about the Chmielnicki Uprising of 1648 which led to the death of thousands of people. Also, you’ll find ‘a shtetl,’ a town where Jews reside. This section of the gallery features a home, an inn, and a marketplace that tells you about how the Jews lived their life. Another interesting sight here is the beautiful synagogue. 

Encounter with Modernity (1772 – 1914)

During this period, the Jewish population had to adapt to a new way of life. It was a time Poland lost her independence with her lands taken over by Austria, Prussia, and Russia. This was a really trying time for the Jews. Some had to leave their old traditions behind and embrace the realities of the western lifestyle. For others, they relied on menial jobs to survive. 

On the Jewish Street (1919 – 1939)

A time when Poland regained her independence was fascinating for the Jewish population. This gallery has quite a number of sections worth exploring including apartments where you’ll learn more about their Jewish lifestyle and the political section detailing the activities of political parties at the time. 

Holocaust (1939 – 1945)

This is the most turbulent period in the lives of the Polish Jewish community. You’ll learn more about the heroic act of a few individuals who held on to their dignity. You’ll see the nefarious acts by the Nazis and how they want to completely wipe out the Jews from Poland. This gallery might not be considered a perfect exhibition for the young at heart. 

Postwar Years (1944 to Present Day)

Perhaps, you might be wondering what’s left to explore in POLIN Museum after the Holocaust that left only 10% of the total population as survivors. This gallery features exhibits about the communist regime. It showed the life of the Jewish people after the Holocaust

In addition to these permanent exhibitions, POLIN Museum also features multiple temporary exhibitions. If you are interested in learning about the history of the Jewish communities in Poland, find your way to the POLIN Museum in Warsaw. It is one of the city’s best attractions where people pay homage to Polish Jews who lost their lives during the holocaust. 

Bartosz is a travel writer, photographer & founder/editor of theuniquepoland who tells stories of adventure, history and current affairs. He writes mainly about travel, with special focus on Poland. He loves travelling, discover new unknown and inspire others.

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