Exterior of the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews (Photo/from file)
Exterior of the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews (Photo/from file)

Uncertainty around Polish Jewish museum’s leadership has donors holding back, funding group says

Several private donors to Poland’s Jewish history museum have suspended funding amid uncertainty over who will lead it, a Polish Jewish group said.

The suspension is connected to concern that the government would not extend the tenure of Dariusz Stola, the director of the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Piotr Wislicki, head of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, told The Associated Press July 16. He did not name any donors.

In May, a committee tasked with evaluating candidates for the job recommended keeping Stola, who became director a year after the museum opening in 2013. The Culture Ministry has not yet said whether it will accept the recommendation.

The ministry jointly manages Polin along with the Warsaw municipality and Wislicki’s association. All three bodies were represented on the commission that approved Stola for another term.

Bay Area philanthropist Tad Taube, who was born in Poland, is one of the museum’s major donors. He has not suspended his donations.

“Having just returned from productive meetings in Warsaw regarding the Polin Museum’s director, we find the situation is very fluid,” he said in an email to J.

“We met with the culture minister, representatives of the City of Warsaw and the Jewish NGO, and we feel optimistic that the matter will be resolved in a manner acceptable to the global Jewish community.”

Culture Minister Piotr Glinski said on Polish TV that he “is analyzing the situation at the moment.”

One issue, Glinski said, is Stola’s failure to organize a conference on Lech Kaczynski, a former president of Poland. Polin said in a statement Tuesday that it had reacted positively to a proposal for a conference on Kaczynski but initiators did not follow up.

Stola, who is not Jewish, has criticized a controversial law passed last year in Poland that makes it illegal to blame the Polish nation for Nazi crimes. Glinski denied allegations that the uncertainty about Stola is related to this or any other political position the director has taken.

JTA

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