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Museum of the History of Polish Jews Presents First Special Recognition Awards at U.S. Embassy Event
Museum Honors Attorney Roman Rewald and the Law Firm of Weil, Gotshal and Manges, and Ryszard Krauze of Prokom and the Ryszard Krauze Foundation
Warsaw, December 7, 2006 -The first special recognition awards of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews were awarded on December 5th at a reception in honor of the Museum given by the Honorable Victor Ashe, U.S. Ambassador to Poland and his wife Joan at their Warsaw residence.
Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga and more than 100 Polish political and business leaders, as well as diplomats from the U.S, U.K., Germany, Israel and Japan were present as Museum director Jerzy Halbersztadt and members of the Museum's North American Council presented the award winners with signed etchings of the Museum exterior created by its architect, Rainer Mahlamäki of Finland.
Roman Rewald, President of the Polish American Chamber of Commerce, prominent Warsaw lawyer and partner in the Warsaw office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges was lauded for his firm's pro bono work for the Museum, which included "innumerable hours spent on providing the best legal advice available."
The second award recipient, Ryszard Krauze, founder of Prokom, Poland's leading IT company, was recognized for the timeliness and vision of his support. It came at a critical time when the project was faltering in 2001 and allowed the tiny Museum project team to survive and continue their work: "Where others saw unrealistic dreamers, Ryszard Krauze saw tenacity and the desire to fulfill an unmet educational and cultural need," said Ewa Wierzynska, the Museum deputy director.
U.S. Ambassador Victor Ashe, the host of the evening, said: "American companies lead the world in corporate philanthropy, and our corporate leaders have for two centuries provided vital support to our great museums, galleries, libraries and other institutions of civic good. This is an important American tradition, which has spread throughout the world as organizations work to obtain money from outside of the public sphere. (.) America is proud to support the development of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews."
The groundbreaking of the Museum, which will rise on the site of the former Warsaw ghetto facing the Monument commemorating the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising will take place by mid-2007. Construction of the building is being financed jointly by the City of Warsaw and the Polish Ministry of Culture. The Museum is scheduled to open its doors in 2009.
The Museum of the History of the Polish Jews will be a thoroughly modern, multimedia center for education as well as remembrance, dedicated to teaching people of all ages and backgrounds about the history and rich culture that the Jewish people had produced on Polish soil for almost 1000 years.
A highly innovative project, inspired by determination to oppose the spread of prejudice, stereotyping and anti-Semitism and to equip the younger generations with the ability to respect differences among people, the Museum was founded and is financed by four groups: The Jewish Historical Institute Association in Poland, The Municipality of Warsaw, the Polish Ministry of Culture and numerous individuals, corporations and foundations from around the world. The Museum is one of the first institutions in "New Europe" that will be built through a partnership of public and private support. Funds are needed to design the installations and create the exhibition, education, performance and other public spaces.
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