Yesterday, we went to the POLIN Museum in Warsaw. While we were there, we went through an exhibit about a 1000 year history of Polish Jews. This exhibit took us from the Middle Ages through today. We discovered how Jews first arrived in Polish lands, why they stayed, as well as how Poland became home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the world.
The first part of the exhibit showed us the legend of Polin. Polin is the word meaning ”rest here” in Hebrew. According to the legend, Jews fleeing from persecution, arrived in a forest and herd the word “Polin” and they felt safe and settled. The second part of the exhibit talked about the 10th century Jewish merchants. It talked about the charter that gave Jews the right to settle and practice their religion. The third part was about the Commonwealth and how the wars in the 17th century left the Commonwealth devastated. It also talked about the greatest rabbi in Jewish history. I also found out about the Council of Four Lands. The fourth part of the exhibit talked about the Jewish home as well as the values of piety and modesty. The fifth part was about the development of industry which lead to the huge migration to cities as well as the rise of wealth. There became harsh restrictions on Jewish settlement. The sixth exhibit was about the second “golden age” for Polish Jews. This was the time when Jews has full electoral rights and some were even represented in parliament. The seventh exhibit was about the Holocaust where diaries and documents form the Warsaw ghetto which gave some insight into the Warsaw uprising. The eighth exhibit was about post WWII. There was a commemoration for the ghetto hero’s. There was also a section about the Jews who stayed in Poland post-war as well as a section about the Jews who left Poland post-war.
Overall I thought that the POLIN Museum had a lot of information that was very insightful and interesting. There was so much that I didn’t know about. However, there was a lot in the exhibit, so it was hard to fully take everything in. It was also a bit overwhelming. I thoroughly enjoyed learning so much new information and look forward to what is next to come.