The cornerstone of the long-awaited Museum of the History of Polish Jews was laid in Warsaw at a high-profile ceremony Tuesday. The museum, years in the making, will be located in what was the World War II Warsaw Ghetto, across from the Ghetto Heroes monument erected there in 1948.
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"Prior to the Holocaust, the Shoah, Warsaw was one of the world's main centres of Jewish life where politics, culture, publishing and Jewish theatre thrived -- in fact it was the leading centre, surpassing other cities in the US and Europe," project director Jerzy Halbersztadt told guests at the site.
During the Holocaust, the district was inside the infamous Warsaw Ghetto, where all told Nazi Germany imprisoned more than 400,000 Polish Jews, many of whom died of starvation or disease or were sent to death camps.
The bricks used as the cornerstones came from the World War II-era foundations of the last headquarters of the Council of Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto, the scene of a famous wartime uprising, Halbersztadt said.
"So we have come full circle and beginning the construction of the museum is also an element of closing this circle," he added.