Why Jewish Museums? An International Perspective

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett


A work in progress, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw offers a new vantage point for considering the wider question of what constitutes a Jewish museum and the role such museums can play in Europe today. Will it be a Jewish museum, however that is defined, a Polish museum, a Holocaust museum by another name, or something else? What will be the relation of the “museum of life”, as the Museum resolutely defines itself, to Holocaust education and commemoration, without becoming a “Holocaust museum”? This essay explores these questions from an international perspective.


Divergent Centers: Shaping Jewish Cultures in Israel and America, ed. Deborah Dash Moore and Ilan Troen, New Haven 2001.

Engel David, Historians of the Jews and the Holocaust, Stanford 2010.

The Jewish Contribution to Civilization: Reassessing an Idea, eds. Jeremy Cohen and Richard I. Cohen, Oxford 2012.

Literackie portrety Żydów, red. Eugenia Łoch, Lublin 1996.

Shandler Jeffrey, Shtetl: A Vernacular Intellectual History, New Brunswick 2013.

The Shtetl: New Evalua- tions, ed. Steven T. Katz, New York 2007.

Wokół akulturacji i asymilacji Żydów na ziemiach polskich, red. Konrad Zieliński, Lublin 2010.