Warsaw Jewish Museum Facing Disagreement and Delays

Project director submits her resignation, saying she doesn't feel that everyone responsible for completing the exhibition plans was dedicated to the task.

WARSAW - The official opening of the museum to Polish Jewry in Warsaw, scheduled to take place one year from now, on the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, may be postponed, due to managerial and financial difficulties.

Because of the delay in the project, which is considered a major one both to by the Polish government and Jewish groups in that country, it is not certain that U.S. President Barack Obama and President Shimon Peres will take part in the opening ceremony as planned.

An Israeli delegation outside the incomplete structure on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto.

The Polish minister of culture and national heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski, this week said he hoped the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews would be delayed only to the fall of next year, but that a lack of coordination between the people responsible for completion of the work was causing a delay.

The project's temporary director, Agnieszka Rudzinska, submitted her resignation a few days ago, saying that she did not feel that everyone responsible for completing the exhibition plans was dedicated to the task, and that she had not found common ground with the people financing the museum. The previous director had been fired because of disagreements with the culture minister.

Donors from the United States, who have so for contributed more than $30 million to the project, are to complete their pledge with a further $10 million. According to an agreement signed when the cornerstone of the museum was laid in 2005, the Warsaw Municipality and the Polish government pledged to cover the $60 million in construction costs, which they have met. The magnificent building in the heart of the former Jewish quarter of Warsaw, now stands ready. However, Warsaw's Jewish Historical Institute, which had pledged to raise the additional millions needed to plan and design the exhibitions, has not yet done so.

The fact that for unknown reasons the contract with the British firm hired to design the 4,000 square-meter exhibition space was cancelled, and a local firm was hired in its place, might be a cause for delay.