Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) yesterday introduced a bill that would provide assistance for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland. The Museum, which will stand on the grounds of the former Jewish Quarter in Warsaw, has great historic and symbolic significance and is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. The bill, “Support for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews Act of 2008,” would authorize a contribution of up to $5,000,000 to the museum.

“The Museum will protect a spirit deeply connected to our own, a heritage we cannot afford to let slip away. I think it deserves our strong support, and I am proud to have introduced this bill,” said Sen. Menendez.

The Museum will be an educational and cultural center commemorating a thousand years of Polish Jewish history and is being widely supported and funded in both the public and private domains – by the City of Warsaw, the Polish Government, the German Government, as well as by corporate and foundation support in Poland, the United States, Israel and throughout Europe. In 2006, the museum moved into the last phase of project design and in June 2007, an official groundbreaking ceremony took place presided over by Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski. The museum is expected to open to the public in early 2010.

According to the U.S. Census of 2000, 9,000,000 Americans are of Polish ancestry. Because it is vital to the interests of our nation to preserve and protect artifacts associated with the heritage of United States citizens and to encourage scholarship and learning about that heritage, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews deserves our support. At the beginning of World War II, Poland had the largest Jewish population in Europe, a population that was largely eradicated during the war. The Jewish presence in Poland spanned a period of 1000 years – from their arrival in medieval Poland, through the golden ages of the 16th and 17th centuries, the pre-war years, the Holocaust, after World War II, and up to the present. The Museum will focus on all these periods, on the enriching affect of the Jewish culture in Poland, and on building bridges between people of diverse cultures.