Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Poland -- Politics and Shake-ups at the Jewish History Museum in Warsaw.....

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

The Forward runs a fascinating piece about the shake-up at the top of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw that saw the forced resignation of longtime director Jerzy Halbersztadt, one of the creators of the institution.

The museum -- nearly 20 years in development -- is now scheduled to open in 2013. Its building is largely complete, but work is still going on regarding the exhibits and installations. The Forward notes that Halberszadt's departure under pressure "is provoking concern about the future of the ambitious project, which aims to preserve a legacy of 1,000 years of Jewish life in Poland."

Resignation Under Fire: Project director Jerzy Halbersztadt clashed repeatedly with museum board members over his vision for the institution he envisioned.
Photo: Handhouse Studio

Jerzy Halbersztadt, the museum’s project director since its conception in 1996, announced his resignation at an April 22 press conference after months of indecision by Poland’s Ministry of Culture about renewing his five-year contract. Halbersztadt’s contract had lapsed five months earlier.

Since Halbersztadt’s announcement, the museum has been run by his former deputy, Agnieszka Rudzińska, while the institution’s trustees search for a successor.

Halbersztadt’s unexpected departure came about as a result of repeated clashes with the Ministry of Culture over what he regarded as inadequate funding for the museum’s day-to-day operations. But in a March statement to the press, Culture and National Heritage Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski said that Halbersztadt was unable to cooperate with others and that he believed it was time for the project to have a new director.

Halbersztadt told the Forward that after his most recent contract lapsed, “They reduced my authority as director. I was unable to make any strategic financial decisions and even a [lost my] right to contract staff.”

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  2. Informacje USA, the most popular information webiste in Polish in America on Halbersztadt's departure: